By Duch.seb, via Wikimedia Commons
UK aerospace manufacturing demand rose in 2013 and shows no sign of slowing, according to a key industry group.
Aerospace is a vital growth area for the expanding industrial additive manufacturing sector, with major industry names Boeing and Airbus investing heavily in advanced manufacturing techniques.
Indeed, in 2013 Boeing and Airbus delivered a record 1,275 jets combined, with this output expected to rise in 2014 as backlogs reach more than 11,000 aircraft and 20,000 engines - equivalent to nearly nine years of production.
As such, aerospace lobby body ADS Group is calling for the Government to grant tax breaks for research and development expenses in order to benefit smaller companies, who are proving essential for the supply chain. Paul Everitt, head of the body, said the UK is alone among OECD members in not allowing tax depreciation on new building outlays and the Government should be capitalising on this rise in demand to benefit the wider sector.
UK aerospace industry employs some 100,000 direct workers in the UK and 130,000 in supplier firms and the industry is keen to see some tax relief bestowed upon it by the Coalition in order to satisfy this growing output.
ADS said 2013's orders could be worth £20 billion for the UK economy, with orders for commercial aircraft soaring by 28 per cent to 3,182 and deliveries rising by seven per cent. Moreover, a record 2,646 engines were delivered, with almost 5,000 orders placed for engines.
Mr Everitt said: "Global demand for new aircraft and engines is generating new demand and opportunity for the UK aerospace industry. The seven per cent increase in new aircraft deliveries and the 17 per cent increase in the aircraft order book makes 2013 one of the most successful years on record.
"To maintain the UK's share of this fast growing market we must increase investment in technology, innovation and skills."
Business Secretary Vince Cable concurred: "These figures highlight the opportunities for growth in the aerospace industry and the potential rewards that British businesses could reap. That is why Government and industry are forming a long-term partnership to keep Britain at the forefront of the global aerospace market.
"Together we have committed £2 billion over the next seven years to create an Aerospace Technology Institute to help us win work on developing and building the planes and helicopters of the future, here in the UK. The Aerospace Industrial Strategy, which Government has developed jointly with industry, is giving businesses the confidence to invest in the UK, creating more high-skilled, long-term jobs."
By 2032 some 29,000 large civil aircraft, 24,000 business jets, 5,80 regional aircraft and 40,000 helicopters are estimated to be required. The UK specialises in the development and manufacture of some of the most complicated parts in the international aerospace industry, with this requirement potentially worth $600 billion (£361 billion) for the UK.
This month, the Government announced it would be investing £15 million to the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry to support a new dedicated aerospace facility. This cash injection plus further Government initiatives to drive industrial manufacturing will boost research into the next generation of passenger jets by £2 billion. A dedicated industrial additive manufacturing centre, also on the MTC site, has benefited from a separate £15 million boost from the Chancellor.