Global aircraft deliveries rose 32 per cent to 951 aircraft last year, while 1,680 new aircraft orders were placed in 2021, the most since 2018.

However, 2021 deliveries remain more than 40 per cent down on the record 1,618 deliveries achieved in 2018.

While the recovery to date is focused on single-aisle aircraft, wide-bodies are recovering at a much slower rate due to suppressed demand for long-haul travel. Overall, aircraft order and delivery figures for 2021 show a slow recovery is underway from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deliveries of single-aisle aircraft increased for first time in two years

Global deliveries in 2021 totalled 951 aircraft, just short of ADS’ forecast of 988 aircraft. Deliveries of single-aisle aircraft increased for the first time in two years at 51 per cent. However, wide-body deliveries continued to be impacted by suppressed demand due to the pandemic. Wide-body deliveries decreased 20 per cent – the lowest annual figure since records began in 2010 – suggesting a slower rate of recovery for the wide-body and long-haul market.

Despite the start of a slow recovery in global deliveries, UK aerospace manufacturing remains 36.1 per cent below pre-pandemic output, demonstrating the long road to recovery both the sector and its supply chains face.

Aircraft orders increased significantly from 2019 and 2020 with 1,680 new aircraft orders placed in 2021. However, with 689 cancellations during 2021, the backlog of orders for aircraft fell to 12,989, representing £190 billion in economic value to UK manufacturing in the coming years.

Final months of 2021 saw strong recovery

The final months of 2021 saw a strong recovery in orders, including at Dubai Airshow in November, one of the first international airshows to take place since the start of the pandemic. In 2022 the international aerospace industry will be brought together in the UK at the Farnborough International Airshow in July.

ADS Chief Executive Kevin Craven said: “It is encouraging to see signs of recovery however there is still a very long road ahead to return to pre-pandemic levels of output. Manufacturers are now preparing for production rate increases, posing potential challenges for employers throughout our supply chains who have faced major difficulties in the last two years.”

“This year will be an exciting one for UK aerospace and aviation. We are looking forward to continued progress in developing revolutionary green aerospace technology that will deliver net zero air travel, and to the return of Farnborough International Airshow. We hope to see a strengthening recovery in UK aerospace manufacturing that will enable us to build our international standing as a leader in this high value global industry.”

Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter