Aircraft deliveries are at the highest level since 2019 as the industry welcomes the return of international travel.

Seventy-six new aircraft deliveries were recorded in February, up 3 per cent compared with the same month last year, according to figures from ADS Group, which represents the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space sectors and has more than 1,300 members.

There were 15,657 aircraft on backlog at the end of February, an annual increase of 16 per cent, as the industry responded to an increase in the rate of production. The backlog is the third-largest on record, with ADS claiming that it is worth “at least £244 billion” to the UK economy. Airbus alone employs thousands of people, including at Broughton in north Wales, which makes wings for its planes.

Airbus and Boeing have delivered 134 aircraft since the beginning of the year

Airbus and Boeing have delivered 134 aircraft since the beginning of the year


The high backlog figures come as international travel and tourism approach the levels they were at before the pandemic. Aircraft orders and deliveries fell significantly when travel was curtailed because of public health measures during Covid. Many aviation businesses were propped up by government funding and cash from shareholders.

Last month 63 single-aisle aircraft and 13 wide-body aircraft were received by customers and a total of 134 aircraft have been delivered so far this year. The figures cover reported deliveries by Airbus and Boeing, the two big commercial plane manufacturers.

During February, however, only 17 aircraft orders were placed, 87 per cent lower than the same month last year.

Although the year began with a subdued order book, it is expected that the industry will experience increased demand for more efficient aircraft, boosting orders as the year progresses. “February has remained slow-paced despite expectations that the Singapore international air show would see a boost for aircraft orders,” Aimie Stone, the chief economist at ADS, said. “UK industry waits for the return of Farnborough international air show this summer, which will be a catalyst for the aerospace and defence trade in the UK. An increase in activity and announcements is expected post and prior to the air show.”

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