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European aerospace industry - statistics & facts

With a strong economic history in shaping the technological frontiers, Europe is home to some of the largest companies in the global aerospace and defense industry, including BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, Safran, Thales, and Leonardo. Given the unique economic design of the European market, companies have a vast array of possibilities to realize business performance across Europe. This market design enables some European firms to strengthen their position in the fiercely competitive global market for aerospace and defense. Since 2016, the turnover of the European aerospace and defense industry increased in all four subsectors, namely civil aeronautics, land and naval, military aeronautics, and space. In 2019, the total turnover of the European aerospace and defense industry was over 250 billion euros. During that period, European aerospace firms manufactured single-engine piston, multi-engine piston, turboprop, and business jet. With more than 400 units, the single-engine piston was the most shipped European manufactured airplanes in 2019.

Performance of European aerospace sectors

As competition between countries and technological innovations grew over the last two decades, the demand for aerospace and defense products increased. Global demand for more aerospace goods indirectly supports the expansion of market opportunities for the European aerospace and defense firms. With strong firm-level dynamics, Europe plays a crucial role in the aerospace technologies manufacturing industry. During the last decade, the aeronautic industry grew by 70 billion euros, reaching roughly 178 billion euros in turnover in 2019. Similarly, the European land and naval defense industry grew in size rapidly over the last decade, reaching approximately 68 billion euros in turnover. Although the European defense and space industry also experienced a positive trend, its growth trajectory was slower and fluctuating between 2010 and 2019.

Firm-level business performance

In the global market for aircraft manufacturing, pan-European conglomerate Airbus generated worldwide revenue of almost 70.5 billion euros in 2019, with approximately 22.6 billion euros of it generated within Europe. In that same period, BAE Systems generated over 24 billion U.S. dollars through sales of industrial equipment, machine tools, aerospace and transportation systems, and domestic appliances.

Outlook in upcoming years

Strong corporate design and economic union in Europe enable firms to implement strategies to remain competitive against other growing markets, such as the Asia Pacific region. Despite the fact that the future is uncertain, forecasts indicate that the European aerospace and defense industry will somewhat retain its position. Between 2020 and 2039, Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe are forecasted to be the largest markets for aerospace services. During this period, the market size of the commercial aviation services industry in Europe is expected to amount to over 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars. In terms of aerospace exports by country, France, Germany, UK, and Spain were the leading countries in Europe in 2019.

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