Between January and April this year, 312 commercial aircraft were successfully delivered, 7.4% lower than the 337 deliveries that had taken place after the first four months of last year.

The latest figures from ADS, trade association for the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, highlight a 17.6% increase in the commercial aircraft order backlog, from 13,401 in April 2023 to 15,753 in April 2024.

Moreover, orders for new aircraft in April 2024 were up 64% to 64, compared with only 39 one year earlier. The increasing rate of orders reflects long-term confidence in the UK aerospace sector, with the 365 orders in 2024 so far worth up to £8.5bn for the UK economy.

Current aircraft cancellation rates for 2024 are well below where they were last year at 41 in 2024 compared to 103 at this point in 2023, a sign of continued long-term commitment in the sector. However, cancellations spiked in April, with 35 aircraft cancelled compared to only six in Q1 2024.

Aimie Stone, Chief Economist at ADS said: “The increasing divergence between the rate of aircraft deliveries and the number on backlog order makes clear that this growing, prosperous sector is being held back from its full economic potential.

“The supply chain in the aerospace sector is long and complex, and any production or regulatory issues can cause significant delays in aircraft production, slowing delivery rates.

Kevin Craven, Chief Executive of ADS said: “We are continuing to work with our members over production concerns. In a sector that creates £10.9bn of value and over 100,000 jobs for the UK economy it is important that supply chain challenges are resolved and that the significant skills shortages, access to investment and regulatory issues that continue to hold back our potential rate of productivity and growth are addressed.

“The next Government must create a comprehensive industrial strategy in collaboration with an industrial council formed of business representatives to combat issues like those faced by the aerospace sector. This will ensure the UK’s industrial base can continue to fuel economic growth and create employment for the long term.”
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