Santander and EEF: Manufacturing Aerospace Sector Bulletin

The UK’s aerospace industry is the focus of our second quarterly bulletin in partnership with EEF, the manufacturer’s organisation. We take a deep dive into its structure, global presence, recent performance, risks, opportunities and long-term trends.

Download the full report

Understanding aerospace

The aerospace industry is one of the most dynamic manufacturing sectors in the UK and one of the most successful globally. It manufactures everything from aeroplanes and helicopters to spacecraft, rockets and satellites, airships, balloons and gliders.

However, the sector is dominated by the manufacture of parts for civil and military aircraft, such as turbojets, turbo propellers, rotors and other engine parts and sub-assemblies.

Likewise, the major assembly parts include wings, fuselages and undercarriages, as well as smaller components ranging from de-icing equipment, safety belts and brakes.

Global presence

The UK is a global powerhouse in the production of aircraft, spacecraft and related parts. It’s the 2nd largest manufacturer, only behind the US, and 4th largest aerospace exporter in the world. The sector is highly export intensive with 59% of GVA travelling to overseas markets, the highest of any manufacturing sector.

The UK’s specialisation in engines and parts of aircraft is reflected in its overseas sales, accounting for 79% of all UK aerospace exports. Of that, 35% are exports of wings, fuselages, doors, control surfaces, landing gear and fuel tanks. A further 23% is accounted for by turbojet engines and 20% by engine parts. Exports of aircraft make up 13% of all aerospace overseas sales.

Risks on the radar

Strong fundamentals and long order books mean that the aerospace sector is fairly resilient in the face of short-term demand fluctuations. However, there is a range of risks and uncertainties that could jeopardise this positive outlook over the next few years.

In particular, the UK’s decision to leave the EU could have significant consequences for the shape of the aerospace supply chain, while geopolitical developments could mean a less supportive external demand environment for the sector.

How the industry approaches these challenges will have a significant bearing on the prospects of the UK aerospace sector going forward.

For the full story, download the full report


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