The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a global slowdown of aircraft deliveries – and the lowest first quarter on record – according to industry body ADS.

Although support put in place by the UK government is helping to protect manufacturing jobs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, ADS said a coordinated approach to recovery will be needed to sustain high-value jobs and restart investment. With customers deferring and delaying their orders, many aerospace manufacturing sites have repurposed production to help make PPE and ventilators for the NHS.

Q1 figures are lowest on record

Aircraft delivery figures for Q1 2020 were the lowest first quarter on record as the crisis prevented planned deliveries from being made. The first three months of 2020 saw a 44.7 per cent fall in deliveries from the same period in 2019, with 172 deliveries in January to March. Aircraft orders in March started to see the impact of COVID-19 with a 10 per cent year on year decline from 2019. A strong month for orders in January before the effects of the crisis were felt means Q1 orders overall reached 405. However, with production rates and airline demand slowing, the continuing effects of the crisis will be clearer in Q2.

ADS Chief Executive, Paul Everitt said: “The UK aviation and aerospace industries are experiencing some of the severest impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The UK Government has announced welcome support measures to help businesses through this challenging time, supporting industries that will be vital to the future prosperity of people in all parts of the country.”

ADS calls for post-crisis “internationally co-ordinated approach”

“When the crisis begins to recede, there must be an internationally coordinated approach taken to lifting travel restrictions, boosting consumer confidence and ensuring a strong recovery for UK aviation and aerospace manufacturing.”

ADS has suspended its delivery forecast for 2020 until there is greater certainty around planned production.