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2 minute read - 2nd October 2023

Aerospace order backlog hits record high

A new ADS Group report shows that the order backlog for aircraft and engines in the aerospace sector has hit a record high, as orders continue to surge in 2023.

The sector has seen a whopping 440% increase year-on-year in aircraft orders compared to August 2022. In total, 1,941 aircraft orders have been placed, with orders for single-aisle aircraft continuing to dominate market demand with 1,584 ordered compared to 357 wide-body orders year-to-date.

As order books continue to grow, the backlog of aircraft continues to swell, and is the largest ever with 14,535 aircraft on order following 9% growth in August 2023.  At current rates, the backlog is estimated to be worth around £219bn to the UK and represents more than 10 years of advanced manufacturing work.

Year-to-date deliveries are the highest since 2018, with a total of 778 aircraft delivered, including 656 single-aisle and 122 wide-body. Despite a bumper August for aircraft orders, the 87 deliveries made falls slightly short of ADS’ forecast of 1,215 aircraft to be delivered in 2023, but this is owed to the impact of ongoing and some new supply chain issues, which have slowed the expected rate ramp up.

With orders continuing to surge, the order backlog for aircraft and engines has hit a record high – the backlog is estimated to be worth around £219bn to the UK / Picture: Getty/iStock

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Delivery figures remain steady, and August 2023 saw an 18% increase in deliveries on the same month in 2022 with growth across single-aisle and wide-body aircraft deliveries indicating that post-pandemic recovery continues and remains on track for global aircraft manufacturing to reach pre-pandemic figures by the end of 2024.

However, ADS members continue to report challenges in manufacturing with essential parts of the supply chain under significant pressure, from production disruptions, increased freight, material, and labour costs to name a few affecting aircraft production.

ADS Group notes particularly for single-aisle production, where the challenges seem to be more acute, it is essential for this to be resolved as single-aisle aircraft account for 88 per cent of the record backlog of 14,535 aircraft, and a similar proportion of the year-to-date orders and deliveries.

Aimie Stone, chief economist of ADS Group, said: “The bumper orders made in August 2023 are a very welcome sign of continued confidence in the aerospace sector. With year-to-date order and delivery figures up across the board, our expectation of a return to pre-pandemic levels of manufacturing in 2024 remains unchanged. For UK industry to capitalise on the manufacturing potential offered by a record aircraft backlog, challenges including supply chain issues affecting single-aisle aircraft and wider business confidence must be addressed.”

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