Global aerospace & defense financial performance

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Commercial aerospace revenues continue deceleration, while defense speeds ahead according to Deloitte Global report

  • Global defense subsector grew by 3.9 percent to US$361.5 billion in 2017 with military spending continuing to rise across the globe
  • US A&D industry revenue growth reverses two year trend—US marginally outperformed European counterparts with a 3.4 percent year-on-year growth

NEW YORK, NY, USA, 16 July 2018—Global aerospace and defense (A&D) sector revenues grew by 2.7 percent to reach US$685.6 billion in 2017, according to the 2018 Global aerospace and defense sector financial performance study released by Deloitte Global. Launched in anticipation of the Farnborough Airshow, the results highlight that while revenue growth for the industry as a whole continues to accelerate, it lagged in comparison to an estimated 3.1 percent in global GDP growth1.

Overall, the top 100 companies highlighted in the Deloitte report added US$18.3 billion in revenues in 2017, driven by robust growth in the defense sector in particular. With US defense budgets returning to growth, solid performance of 3.9 percent growth was recorded by the defense sector, compared to a 1.2 percent growth in the commercial aerospace sector. Fewer twin-aisle aircraft deliveries in the US contributed significantly to this muted aerospace growth, however, it is estimated that approximately 38,600 jets will be delivered globally over the 2017-2036 period due to demand for new aircrafts2.

As in previous years, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and companies in the electronics segment drove overall revenue growth in 2017, adding US$5.6 billion and US$4.7 billion in revenues, respectively.

“We continue to see the leaders in the A&D space grow significantly due to ever-evolving global security threats, as evidenced by the healthy growth in the defense sector,” says Deloitte Global Aerospace & Defense leader Robin Lineberger. “While commercial aerospace growth was subdued in 2017, the sector’s operating margin reached 11 percent in 2017, nearing that of its defense counterpart and we expect to see continued growth for years to come.”

As the industry reflects on the financial performance of the global A&D industry in 2017, additional key findings that emerged include:

  • Reversing the previous two years, US A&D growth outperformed European counterparts. Robust performance of the US defense sector led the US to outpace European companies, experiencing a 3.4 percent growth compared to a 3.2 percent growth in Europe. Higher defense spending in both regions led to growth, however, Europe’s commercial aerospace sector recorded modest growth in comparison to the US’s slower acceleration.
  • Productivity gains are leading to increased profitability. A&D productivity rose 8.6 percent in 2017, with productivity per employee among global A&D companies increasing to US$38,543. The US experienced particularly impressive growth, with productivity per employee rising 12.3 percent in comparison to 1.9 percent in Europe.
  • US A&D industry grows global operating margins in 2017. Operating margins for the industry expanded to 10.8 percent, up from 10.2 percent in 2016.

“With a rapidly changing business environment, we expect the global A&D industry to continue to evolve as the industry meets consumer demands, adapts to emerging technologies, and doubles down on innovation,” adds Lineberger. “Looking ahead, companies that are able to capitalize on new technologies and create competitive advantage will ultimately be best positioned to drive the A&D sector into the future.”

Deloitte will publish an additional study from the Farnborough Airshow Managing the evolving skies: Unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM), the key enabler. As wide-scale adoption of passenger drones increasingly becomes reality, the study explores the path forward for maintaining a safe and scalable UTM system, accounting for financial, governmental, and security concerns that come into play when controlling the skies. For more information about Deloitte’s presence at the Farnborough Airshow please visit:

About the global A&D sector financial performance study

This study is based on key financial performance metrics for 100 global A&D companies or segments of industrial conglomerates with A&D businesses which generated global A&D revenues greater than US$500 million in 2017. Using the data from the companies’ respective 10-Ks, annual reports, and other official financial releases, Deloitte Global analyzed the sector’s 2017 performance. The study used audited results for all companies and highlights specific companies that had a positive or negative impact on the A&D industry’s performance, while also analyzing category-by-category performance based on business types and geography.

The presentation of the companies’ 2017 financial performance data is based on its respective 2017 fiscal year results.

1World Bank, Global Economic Prospects, June 2018,
2Deloitte analysis based on data from Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, and Flightglobal


Steve Dutton
Global Communications
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
Tel: +1 202 734 3207

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