Global growth delivers new aircraft production record – but what’s next?


Global aircraft deliveries in 2018 reached a new annual record for the eighth consecutive year, with 1,618 aircraft delivered – an increase of 120 from 2017. The growth in deliveries recorded by the world’s major aircraft manufacturers in 2018 made it the highest proportional increase for five years, at 8%.

Rising global production was driven by a 12% rise in single-aisle aircraft deliveries to more than 1,200. Demand around the world for new aircraft remains strong, with the total backlog of orders reaching a new record at 14,385 aircraft.

UK manufacturers contribute major components like aircraft interiors, wings, engines, landing gear and avionics for the world’s major aircraft manufacturers, with more than 120,000 people in the UK directly employed in the industry and tens of thousands more in roles supported by it.

While the UK aerospace sector has grown substantially in the last decade in step with expansion in global aerospace production – and in related activities including servicing and maintenance – fears are growing over the impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on continuing growth in the UK sector.

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders has warned his company could be forced to redirect future investments away from the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit.

aircraft deliveries 2018

Global aerospace manufacturers are rising to the challenge of boosting productivity to satisfy strong international demand for modern, fuel-efficient and technologically advanced aircraft. In recent years UK industry has played a vital role in this success story, helping to spread the prosperity generated by this high-value industry to communities in every part of the country.

As Brexit draws closer, uncertainty is overshadowing the potential for continuing growth in UK aerospace. A no-deal Brexit threatens our ability to remain competitive in international markets and enjoy the fruits of further production rises and the development of new technology for the future of flight.

In the UK we have great advantages, including a highly skilled workforce, rich heritage in aerospace production, and a strong industrial strategy partnership with Government.

A no-deal Brexit would jeopardize our ability to continue capitalizing on these advantages and competing successfully with overseas rivals who will waste no opportunity to secure future investment.

About the author

Paul Everitt is chief executive of ADS Group, the UK trade organization representing the aerospace, defense, security and space sectors, with more than 1,000 member businesses.

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