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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

28 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.

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. The US defense subsector declined 2.2 and 0.9 percent in 2014 and 2015. This has been primarily driven by the drawdown of large armed forces engaged in operations in the Middle East and continued decline in funding outlays by the US Department of Defense, the largest subsector customer.

“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 Rashid Bashir, partner and Public sector leader at Deloitte, Middle East.

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 Bashir. “We expect continued growth in the defense sector as countries invest in more technologies to counter ongoing security 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 

Press contact
Nadine El Hassan
Middle East Public Relations
Deloitte & Touche (M.E.)
Tel: +961 (0) 1 748444
Fax: +961 (0) 1 748999

Click here for the Arabic version

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 for a more detailed description of DTTL and its member firms.  

Deloitte provides audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte’s more than 220,000 professionals are committed to making an impact that matters.


About Deloitte & Touche (M.E.):

Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) is a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) and is a leading professional services firm established in the Middle East region with uninterrupted presence since 1926.

Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through 26 offices in 15 countries with more than 3,300 partners, directors and staff. It is a Tier 1 Tax advisor in the GCC region since 2010 (according to the International Tax Review World Tax Rankings). It has also received numerous awards in the last few years which include best employer in the Middle East, best consulting firm, the Middle East Training & Development Excellence Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), as well as the best CSR integrated organization.

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