Call for urgent government action as plunge in aircraft orders rocks aerospace sector

Aerospace industry leaders have stressed the need for urgent government support after a slump in aircraft orders.

The industry has seen continued suppressed demand for aircraft due to the pandemic and international travel restrictions. Picture: John Devlin
The industry has seen continued suppressed demand for aircraft due to the pandemic and international travel restrictions. Picture: John Devlin

Just four orders were placed last month making it the worst January on record, amid continued suppressed demand for aircraft due to the pandemic and international travel restrictions.

The four orders that were placed were all for widebody aircraft, with no single-aisle aircraft orders placed in January for the first time on record.

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Global commercial aircraft deliveries in January were up 7 per cent on January 2020 with 47 aircraft delivered.

Industry leaders said an overall order backlog of 12,989 aircraft could still be worth up to £184 billion to the UK. However, it is the first time the backlog has dropped to below 13,000 aircraft since July 2015. Before the pandemic, the backlog peaked at more than 14,000 orders.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of UK trade organisation ADS, said: “We are almost a year into the global pandemic and the UK’s aerospace sector continues to struggle with draconian travel restrictions.

“Whilst I am confident travel demand will return, the timing of the recovery is now more difficult to predict. Co-ordinated international action is necessary to reopen borders and allow consumers to travel with confidence.

“The government must act swiftly to ensure financial support reaches airlines, airports and aerospace companies.

“Backing the UK’s aerospace industry will help manufacturers survive the impact of the pandemic, retain the skills to stay internationally competitive, and enable the UK to maintain capabilities required to be a leader in developing new technologies that will be at the heart of sustainable aviation.”

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