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The aerospace industry: statistics and policy

Published Wednesday, November 8, 2017

This note analyses key statistics and presents details of how Government policy supports the industry.

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The UK aerospace sector had a turnover of £31 billion in 2016. It employs 95,000 people, with the greatest number of jobs in the South West and the East Midlands. Nearly 90% of what the sector produces is exported.

The UK has some major companies in the global aerospace sector, with both BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce featuring in the global top ten companies by revenue. Further afield, Boeing (United States) and Airbus (Europe) are the largest companies in the sector globally.

The outlook for the industry as a whole is generally positive, with recent growth in output expected to continue as demand for aircraft increases around the world. The UK industry has a strong pipeline of work, and trade bodies are reporting optimism in manufacturers.

Year on year growth

However, some observers are predicting that Brexit will have a negative impact on the aerospace sector, with particular impact being felt in industry confidence and international cooperation. That said, some people have suggested that parts of the sector may benefit from less regulation.

Both imports and exports increased in 2016, relative to the previous year. The UK has run a small trade deficit in the aerospace sector for the past few years. Trade disputes have occurred recently, particularly with the USA placing tariffs on Bombardier jets which are manufactured in Northern Ireland.

Aerospace is part of the Government’s industrial strategy, and a number of initiatives have been set up to boost research and investment, and to guarantee exports. The Aerospace Growth Partnership and the Aerospace Technology Institute have both been set up in recent years as a collaboration between Government and industry.

Commons Briefing papers SN00928

Authors: Philip Brien; Chris Rhodes

Topics: Aviation, Economic policy, Industry, Manufacturing industries

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