Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing

Last year was a weak one for aircraft manufacturers as the coronavirus pandemic and governments’ restrictions kept most of the airliner fleets on the ground. The two largest jet manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, delivered 34 and 60 percent fewer aircraft in 2020 and reported the lowest volume of aircraft orders in more than a decade. While commercial aircraft production is not likely to recover this year, military aircraft are expected to play an important part. Worldwide, the sectors most likely to emerge as drivers of growth for the defense industry include intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) technologies, as well as the cybersecurity sector and the application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The key contractors of military aircraft include Europe’s Airbus, as well as U.S.-based Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman.

Leading aircraft manufacturers
Airbus and Boeing
Size of the aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul market
68.5bn USD
Airbus Division's global revenue
34bn EUR

Market size

Size of the global aircraft fleet
Projected size of the global aircraft fleet due to coronavirus outbreak from 2020 to 2031 (in units)
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The world’s airliner fleet is dominated by Airbus and Boeing. The two aircraft manufacturers produce highly successful jet models, including the Airbus A320 and Boeing’s 737 aircraft, which was often named as one of the best-selling jets worldwide before coming under scrutiny for misleading the authorities during the approval process of the 737 MAX aircraft that led to two aircraft crashes. Bombardier, Embraer, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are competing for the remaining market.

Airbus and Boeing
Raytheon Technologies Corporation

Market segments

Global defense spending
Global military spending from 2001 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars)
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Political leaders of China, the U.S., the Middle East, and Russia are increasingly spending billions of dollars in military expenditure. Overall, the U.S. holds the largest share of worldwide military outlays; the country accounts for around 40 percent of global defense spending. Conflicting interests between countries stress the development of more military technology innovations. For instance, drones have become an indispensable weapon and are in great demand in many parts of the world.

Defense and arms
Armed forces of the U.S.
Lockheed Martin is the leading armament manufacturer in the world

Industry trends

The worst year in the aircraft manufacturing industry
Airbus' worldwide orders, deliveries and aircraft in operation as of December 31, 2020 (in units)
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The pandemic and the 20-months grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft impeded airlines from buying new aircraft; for the second year in a row, Boeing was overtaken by its rival Airbus. The European aircraft manufacturer delivered 566 commercial aircraft last year, 34 percent below the 2019 level. In comparison, the American rival Boeing delivered only 157 aircraft, 60 percent less than in 2019. The number of aircraft deliveries is an indicator of the aviation industry’s profitability.

Coronavirus impact on the aviation industry
Air transportation safety
Aircraft leasing

Industry leaders

The leading aerospace and defense companies in the world
Leading aerospace and defense manufacturers worldwide in 2021, based on revenue (in billion U.S. dollars)
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Boeing, Airbus, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics are ranked among the leading aerospace and defense technology companies worldwide. The two largest jet manufacturers, Airbus and Illinois-headquartered Boeing, form a de facto duopoly in the aircraft manufacturing industry. Aside from commercial aircraft, both companies also produce military aircraft, rockets, satellites, communications equipment, and missiles.

Airbus and Boeing
Raytheon Technologies Corporation
Boeing is the leading aerospace and defense manufacturer in the U.S.

Regional overview

Countries with the highest aerospace exports
Leading countries with the highest aerospace exports in 2019 (in billion U.S. dollars)
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The United States, France, and Germany are ranked among the most important markets for aerospace products. The U.S. market contributed some 136 billion U.S. dollars in aerospace exports in 2019, making it the leading country in terms of sales value. The country is home to some of the leading aircraft manufacturers in the world.

European aerospace industry
Airbus is the leading aerospace company in Europe
Defense industry in the UK

Industry definition

The aerospace manufacturing and defense industry comprises the manufacturing of aircraft, space vehicles, engines and parts, as well as maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services. Aerospace manufacturing can be segmented into defense and commercial aerospace manufacturing. Within this sector, Statista presents the most relevant and up-to-date facts relating to the manufacture of aerial vehicles and the defense industry. Data on a global, regional, and country scale is available, integrated with information on the largest players and rankings.


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