Turnover for the UK aerospace industry was £15.05bn last year, up 8% on 1996. Average growth has been 11% in real terms over the past three years, a trend the Society of British Aerospace Companies expects will continue well into the next century.
The UK’s aerospace industry is second only to the US in the world. And three-quarters of turnover comes from exports.
The industry’s reliance on military work continues to decline, with civil turnover now only eight percentage points behind military turnover.
Aerospace R&D spending as a proportion of turnover is three times as great as for the automotive industry and roughly twice that of electronics.
Profitability has also increased since the industry restructured in the early 1990s, but, at 7.1% of turnover, is still below the average for UK industry as a whole. Figures from analyst Experian show average UK profit margins static at 8.1% in the first quarter of 1998.
Meanwhile, the CBI’s latest monthly statistics show the worst order figures for over five years. Manufacturers saying total orders were below normal exceeded those saying orders were normal or better by 31 percentage points.
Export order figures were even worse, with a negative balance of 51%.