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UK Aerospace Posts Strong First Quarter

With a general election looming and the promise of a break from the European Union ringing in the ears of manufacturers across the country, it’s an understandably nervy time for industry. Should the UK leave the European Union without any concessions for trade, it’s expected that a levy will have to be placed on trade both in and out of the UK to the European Union.

That, in turn, will lead to an increase in costs and inflation, hitting customers where it hurts. However, the immediate situation we’ve found ourselves in with Brexit is actually rather favourable. The fall in the value of the pound has meant that for countries around the world, the UK has become an appealing place to buy from.

In certain sectors like manufacturing that’s meant a sharp uptick in orders and some of the strongest growth witnessed in years. This is partly because orders for many manufacturers aren’t booked far in advance, but that’s not the only reason. As manufactures of stainless steel PTFE fittings, we’ve witnessed first-hand the surge in orders from overseas, but we aren’t the only industry benefitting.

Indeed, the UK aerospace industry – a particularly vital part of UK manufacturing and one at serious threat from Brexit – enjoyed the strongest first quarter since records began. The value of aircraft deliveries to the UK reached an unprecedented £6.5bn during Q1 2017, up a full billion since the same time last year, determined by a 10 percent rise in wide-body aircraft deliveries.

Orders have also risen by 40 percent for the first quarter, compared to the same period last year, and delivery rates are 15 percent higher than they were five years ago. The total number of aircraft deliveries in the first three months of the year reached 307, ahead of Q1 2016 – a year which had set new records for aviation distribution.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, the trade Organisation for companies in the UK aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, said: “Global demand is driving production rates higher and UK expertise is delivering essential components and technologies. Despite the uncertainties associated with the decision to leave the EU, aerospace innovation and productivity is helping to sustain the high value, long-term jobs our economy needs."

New orders were also strong, with 242 orders for new aircraft in the quarter were added to the already strong backlog of orders, which now sits at its all-time third highest level, with nearly 13,500 aircraft remaining on the books, worth a potential £220bn to the UK manufacturing sector.

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