UK aerospace needs new investments to secure faster recovery


Supporting the return to growth of strategic UK manufacturing sectors will be essential to achieving a swift economic recovery that sustains high value skills and jobs in all parts of the country. The UK aerospace sector is among the most impacted industries by the pandemic and faces a long haul to recovery.

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) for ADS modelled potential recovery scenarios for the sector (see below), forecasting that:

  • Recovery at a pace in line with wider UK manufacturing sectors would see aerospace return to pre-crisis levels of output by Q1 2023
  • A more protracted period of subdued activity, affected by reductions in business travel and customer uncertainty, could see a full recovery take until beyond 2025

The latest official statistics for December 2020 showed that UK aerospace production output experienced a fall of 37.4% from February 2020, while in January this year just four aircraft orders were placed globally as sector confidence suffered from strict restrictions on international travel.

ADS has highlighted five areas for future Government support:

  • New measures to help UK aerospace and our supply chains survive the crisis, acting quickly to support a resumption in international air travel and providing long-term capital financing for hard-pressed SMEs
  • An ambitious plan for growth that recognises the strategic industrial role of our four sectors
  • Secure the public and private sector investment needed to deliver on the UK’s Jet Zero ambitions, by doubling funding for the Aerospace Technology Institute and investing in sustainable aviation fuel plants
  • Ensure that defence and security drive UK prosperity by maximising the power of procurement and strengthening strategic industrial engagement
  • Back an ambitious strategy to make the UK a global space leader

This unprecedented crisis has imperilled previously robust businesses that are vital to the UK’s industrial base and provide highly skilled jobs in all parts of the country. Achieving a strong recovery will require business and Government to work together, investing in the future technologies that will deliver green growth and the productivity gains needed for Global Britain to compete internationally.

Global aerospace will return to growth, but UK aircraft manufacturers and their suppliers face a slow recovery without long-term and more patient capital investment.

ADS is the UK trade organisation representing the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, with more than 1,100 member businesses.

CEBR modelled three potential scenarios for ADS:

Scenario 1: Aerospace to maintain a constant share of manufacturing output

Scenario 2: Faster recovery, which would rely on additional stimulus being provided for aviation and aerospace

Scenario 3: Subdued recovery

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