The global aerospace industry enjoyed a surge in aircraft orders in February, putting it on track for another record year of deliveries and boosting the UK economy.
The number of commercial aircraft ordered by airlines jumped to 43 last month from just four in February 2016, according to ADS, the industry trade association.
The figures are based on orders for the planemakers Airbus, Boeing, Canada’s Bombardier, the Chinese state-owned firm Comac and Russia’s Irkut. Growth was driven mainly by demand for single-aisle planes designed for short-haul travel.
The industry delivered 100 aircraft to customers over the month, with a value of up to £2bn to the UK economy. This value is from research and development and the manufacturing that take place in the country. Airbus employs about 15,000 people in the UK and makes the wings for its planes at its factory in Broughton, north Wales.
The number of deliveries in February was down slightly from 102 in the same month last year. A total of 1,443 commercial aircraft rolled off production lines last year, breaking the record for a sixth year. Nonetheless, ADS is forecasting deliveries will rise by 6%-7% this year to more than 1,500 new aircraft.
Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS Group, said: “Today’s figures demonstrate continued success for the UK aerospace industry and good prospects for the rest of 2017. The industry is looking to build on 2016’s record year for deliveries, as all major aircraft companies look to increase their production rates.”
There was a backlog of 13,436 commercial aircraft on order in February, worth about £220bn to UK industry. This is the third-highest backlog on record for civil aerospace, according to ADS.
The aerospace industry has been held up by the government as a poster child for British manufacturing because it is a source of highly skilled jobs and has benefited from close collaboration with the government.
However, the Brexit vote has created uncertainty about whether major employers such as Airbus could look to move manufacturing for the next generation of aircraft to other locations.
Everitt said that it would be crucial for the UK to secure a good deal with the EU in Brexit negotiations so companies had the confidence to invest in Britain.
“This week the government intends to trigger article 50, starting a two-year process to determine the UK’s exit terms from the European Union. It will be vital for industry and government to work together to secure a good deal, one that gives companies in our sectors the confidence to invest and create more high value jobs in every region of the UK,” Everitt said.
Aircraft orders increase tenfold in a year in boost for UK manufacturing – The Guardian