The UK aerospace industry risks slipping one more place in the world rankings after the coronavirus caused a fall in demand for airlines leading to widespread layoffs.
Data from the trade body ADS show that in 2019 the sector employed 114,000 people, the global equivalent of Germany.
The US remains by far the largest aerospace player in the world – a position it has held since World War Two – with 700,000 direct employees, followed by France with 200,000.
However, the pandemic has resulted in at least 15,000 job losses this year according to the ADS, meaning that when final figures for 2020 are produced at the start of the New Year, Britain risks falling behind Germany.
Britain is thought to have slipped back due to a lack of direct support for aerospace companies in the UK, while France and Germany have specific policies to support skilled jobs in this sector.
In June, the French government detailed € 15 billion in support for its aviation and aerospace industry, including assistance to Air France, Toulouse-based Airbus and other companies, which was arranged through direct investments, subsidies, loans and financial guarantees. This also includes advancing state spending and funding to promote green planes.
German redeem the national airline Lufthansa with a package specifying that it is updating its fleet with new aircraft, a requirement that will increase Airbus.
Both countries have longer-running job support schemes – some lasting years – that are meant to retain hard-earned aerospace skills and expertise, unlike the UK’s short-term leave schemes.