August 2021 was a bumper month for orders, with 130 single-aisle and 25 wide-body orders for Airbus and Boeing aircraft, making it the best August since 2016, and a steep rise compared to August 2020.
Manufacturers delivered 62 aircraft, an increase of 19% ahead of this time in August 2020. Year-to-date deliveries are now at 590 aircraft, an increase of 59% compared to the same point a year ago, as the aerospace sector continues to feel the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighted by subdued month-to-month delivery and production rates.
Flight data has remained broadly stable throughout the month of August, with UK flight numbers around 50% below 2019 levels (Eurocontrol figures), and European flights around 30% below 2019 levels, signalling a less volatile operating environment and a slow recovery from the worst of the Covid-19 crisis, enabled by the easing of international travel restrictions.
The backlog of aircraft orders remains substantial at 12,860 aircraft, and despite a 5% decrease from August 2020, the total order book will be worth approximately £181 billion to the UK aircraft manufacturing industry and represents several years’ worth of work (ONS Index of Production figures).
The UK aerospace and aviation sectors continue to feel the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and despite a welcome boost to the 2021 order book, the road to a sustained long-term recovery will be a long one.
Recent UK Government and US announcements on easing travel restrictions are welcome and these changes, which will include the lifting of the US travel ban on UK and EU arrivals and reducing testing requirements for vaccinated travellers, will allow people to reconnect and enjoy freedom to travel once again.
As our industry recovers, we are focussed on securing future opportunities for UK industry, including in delivering net-zero aviation by 2050. Government and industry are working together to make sure the UK plays a full role in delivering these opportunities, securing high-value UK jobs, and supporting the global aerospace industry achieve our net zero goals.
ADS is the UK trade organisation representing the Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors, with more than 1,100 member businesses