US civil aircraft sales grow 8% in 2013

Washington DC
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Civil aircraft sales by US manufacturers grew 8% in 2013, but this was not enough to stop a dip in overall sales logged by the country's aerospace and defense industry for the year.

Civil aircraft sales are expected to come in at $67 billion, up from $62.2 billion in 2012, says the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) in its forecast released today. The AIA estimates that civil aircraft sales will grow further to $72.1 billion in 2014.

US manufacturers hold a backlog for 4,787 civil aircraft worth $344 billion, which works out to about seven and a half years at current production rates. About 66% of these orders were from foreign airlines, says the AIA. Of the total backlog, almost 3,500 aircraft are Boeing 737s. The remaining backlog comprise 890 Boeing 787s, 328 Boeing 777s, 51 Boeing 747s and 51 Boeing 767s.

Despite the growth in civil aircraft sales, overall aerospace sales dipped slightly to $220 billion in 2013 from $222 billion in 2012. Military aircraft sales fell to $55 billion from $59.7 billion. In 2014, they are expected to grow to $57.6 billion.

AIA chief executive Marion Blakey says today the impact of sequestration on the industry has proven to be not as severe as the association had feared, but says that cuts to the country's defense budget were still alarming.

She points to the effect on the industry's jobs. Employment is expected to fall by 13,000 jobs in 2013 to 618,200.

Aerospace exports, however, improved by $12.5 billion during the year to $112 billion while imports rose by almost $5 billion. As a result, the favourable balance of trade in aerospace products rose to $73.5 billion from $65.7 billion.