Overall aircraft order and delivery figures for 2020 show the extent of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to a global aerospace sector that had already faced a comparatively challenging 2019. When compared to the record years of 2018 and 2017 for deliveries and orders, the sector is well below previous output levels, showing the long road to recovery the sector faces as it looks to the years ahead.
Global deliveries in 2020 totalled 723 aircraft, 42% behind 2019 and 55.3% behind 2018, and marked the second consecutive year that deliveries have declined. Widebodies had a particularly tough year with a 54% decline in deliveries compared to the previous year. Single-aisle aircraft deliveries saw a decline of 35% as the pandemic added to ongoing challenges from 2019.
Aircraft orders tell a similar story with 567 new orders in total, a 59% decline on 2019. Of the new orders placed, 52% of them were made in January 2020 before the full impacts of the pandemic started to hit the industry. Widebody aircraft saw an 81% decline in orders on 2019 due to the uncertainty created by the pandemic and demand for long-haul travel.
Due to struggling orders and deliveries, combined with cancellations, the backlog of orders for aircraft fell by 6.6% to 13,038 aircraft but still represents several years of work for the industry and almost £190 billion to the UK if all orders are ultimately fulfilled.
ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt (above) said: “The UK aerospace industry continues to face the most challenging of circumstances. Demand has been dramatically reduced by international travel restrictions, quarantine regimes and an uncoordinated approach to testing.
“If the sector is to survive and thrive, we need Government to work with industry to put in place a recovery plan that helps us to ‘build back better.’ This should fund more investment in technology to deliver net zero aviation and action to support UK supply chains.
“Voices across the aviation and aerospace sectors are calling on Government to work with us to plot a course out of the pandemic and towards the future growth opportunities that can drive jobs and prosperity across all the nations and regions of the UK.”