UK aerospace manufacturing output remains 40 per cent smaller than pre-pandemic levels and the recovery for the industry remains “fragile”, according to figures from ADS Group.

Global aircraft manufacturers reported just 80 orders in May 2021 and 67 deliveries, chalking up just a small increase from April, according to the data. The figures represent substantially below average monthly rates before the pandemic. ADS’ records show UK flight arrivals and departures are around 70 per cent below 2019 levels due to restrictions on international travel.

The Index of Production figures for April released this month by the Office for National Statistics show UK aerospace manufacturing output 40.4 per cent smaller than February 2020, due to the impact of the crisis on demand.

Small increase in May orders

May saw small increases in the numbers of global aircraft orders and deliveries as the industry aims for recovery from more than 12 months of suppressed demand and production rates as a result of the pandemic.While 80 new orders were placed, the total backlog fell once again to 12,771 aircraft due to cancellations, down 8 per cent compared to May 2020 and from a high of 14,194 in February 2020.

Despite the order book decline during this period, the backlog represents many years production for manufacturers. Global aircraft production rates have been cut by around one third during the crisis and are expected to begin to recover towards the end of 2021, rising above pre-crisis output levels in around two years’ time.

ADS added that the projected pace of recovery would be dependent on international Governments working together to build on successful vaccination programmes to reopen major travel routes and put in place resilient measures that enable passengers to travel without the need to quarantine on their arrival or return.

“Full recovery expected to take several years”

ADS Chief Executive Kevin Craven said: “Our aerospace and aviation sectors are among the most deeply affected by the crisis, which has had a severe impact on flight numbers, and on demand for the advanced, fuel efficient aircraft manufactured by UK industry.”

“A full recovery is expected to take several years, but we need Governments to open the skies to travellers once again, building on the successful vaccination programmes that are key in overcoming the Covid pandemic.

“While aviation demand has at last begun to rise from the lowest point of the crisis, the recovery remains fragile and our supply chain businesses are still facing serious challenges to maintain their capabilities, meet financing needs and secure future business opportunities.”


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