Defense revenues expand, while commercial aerospace slows

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Defense revenues expand, while commercial aerospace slows

  • Global defense subsector grew by 2.1 percent to US$351.3 billion as military spending increases
  • European commercial aerospace grew by 6.7 percent, outpacing the US which only grew marginally by 1.3 percent, for second consecutive year

NEW YORK, NY, USA, 15 June 2017–Global aerospace and defense (A&D) sector revenues grew by 2.4 percent to reach US$674.4 billion in 2016, slightly above the estimated global domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.3 percent1. This is according to the 2017 Global aerospace and defense sector financial performance study released by Deloitte Global ahead of the Paris International Air Show, where European aerospace companies will be showcasing their innovations and advanced technologies.

The top 100 companies analyzed added US$15.7 billion in revenues, with growth primarily driven by the European commercial and US defense subsectors. In terms of incremental revenue growth by segment, the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and electronics segments were the top contributors, adding US$3.4 billion and US$3.7 billion respectively.

For the commercial aerospace subsector, aircraft deliveries were strong in Europe (8.3 percent increase), whereas the US experienced a marginal decline of 1.8 percent. Although commercial aircraft deliveries dropped slightly in the US, the industry still set a record high of 1,436 aircraft delivered globally.

The global defense subsector continued to recover as defense spending increased. Following a recovery starting in 2015, revenue in 2016 grew by 2.1 percent (US$7.2 billion) to US$351.3 billion.

“Across the globe, and especially in the US, we have seen an increase in military spending which has led to another strong year for the defense sector,” said Robin Lineberger, Deloitte Global Aerospace & Defense leader. “Contributing to this strong year is the 3.1 percent growth in US defense revenues resulting from the 3.6 percent2 increase in funding from the US Department of Defense (DoD), the subsector’s largest customer.”

New to the study is the analysis of the ‘Letters to Shareholders’ in the annual reports of the top 20 A&D companies. The following five key themes highlight what these companies are focusing on and communicating to their shareholders:

  1. Invest in creating and developing aerospace products that maintain margin and create a foundation for future in the face of challenging competition.
  2. Achieve long-term operational performance by managing cash, improving processes, and through more effective program transformations.
  3. Secure capital to create custom product (including aircrafts and engines) improvements which can lead to growth in deliveries and larger returns.
  4. Enhance innovation capabilities through alliances or acquisitions, as well as employing the best talent.
  5. Support continued business growth through investing in new services, focusing on new customers and markets as well as on contracts and technologies.

“A sharp focus on customers, new product and service innovations, business growth in strategic markets, and technology, reflect the strategic priorities of the industry in 2017 and beyond,” adds Lineberger. “We expect continued growth in the defense sector as countries invest in more technologies to counter ongoing terrorist threats and we also expect to see strong commercial aircraft orders at the airshow, further strengthening the order backlog.”

1 World Bank, Global Economic Prospects, January 2017.

2 United States Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, “Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request.” February 2016.

Press contact

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

About the study

This study looks at the top A&D companies (or business segments of conglomerates) that have generated at least US$500 million in revenues in 2016. This assessment allows Deloitte to provide industry executives with a detailed understanding of how their sector is performing and how the A&D segments are performing relative to each other.

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. Please see to learn more about our global network of member firms.

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