Archive:Aerospace equipment production statistics - NACE Rev. 1.1

This Statistics Explained article is outdated and has been archived - for recent articles on structural business statistics see here.

Data from January 2009, most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database

This article belongs to a set of statistical articles which analyse the structure, development and characteristics of the various economic activities in the European Union (EU). According to the statistical classification of economic activities in the EU (NACE Rev 1.1), the present article covers the production of aerospace equipment, corresponding to NACE Group 35.3, which is part of the transport equipment sector. The activities covered in this article are the manufacture of:

  • military aircraft;
  • aircraft used for the transport of passengers or freight;
  • other means of air transport, such as gliders, balloons and spacecraft;
  • parts and accessories which are used in the construction of aerospace equipment.
Figure 1: Manufacture of aircraft and spacecraft. Deliveries of commercial aircraft (number)

Main statistical findings

Structural profile

Table 1: Manufacture of aircraft and spacecraft (NACE Group 35.3). Intra-mural research and development expenditure: selected Member States, 2006 (1)
Table 2: Manufacture of aircraft and spacecraft (NACE Group 35.3). Structural profile: ranking of top five Member States in terms of value added and persons employed, 2006

The EU-27’s aerospace equipment manufacturing (NACE Group 35.3) sector in 2006 consisted of 2.3 thousand enterprises which created EUR 30.0 billion of value added and employed 384.0 thousand persons. This was equivalent to 15.4 % of transport equipment manufacturing (NACE Subsection DM) value added, and 12.2 % of its workforce, making this the second largest transport equipment manufacturing subsector.

The United Kingdom reported a 33.0 % share of EU-27 value added in this sector, the highest share among the Member States, followed by France and Germany. These three large Member States dominated this sector to such an extent that none of the other Member States were relatively specialised in this activity, in the sense that the contribution of this sector to national non-financial business economy value added was below the EU-27 average in all other Member States[1].

The evolution of the index of production for EU-27 aerospace equipment manufacturing followed a rather similar pattern to that for transport equipment manufacturing as a whole, although with slower growth after 2001. The effects of the general economic slowdown, coupled with a downturn in air transport after the terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001, resulted in a relatively large contraction in output in 2002, and there was a smaller contraction in 2006.

Expenditure and productivity

The EU-27’s aerospace equipment manufacturing sector recorded EUR 3.7 billion of tangible investment in 2006, equivalent to 12.5 % of value added, below the average investment rate for transport equipment manufacturing (16.2 %). Personnel costs accounted for a notably higher share of operating expenditure in the EU-27's aerospace equipment manufacturing sector, a little more than one quarter (26.3 %) of the total, which was around 10 percentage points above the transport equipment manufacturing and non-financial business economy averages.

Average personnel costs were EUR 59.4 thousand per employee in the EU-27’s aerospace equipment manufacturing sector in 2006, the third highest level among non-financial business economy NACE groups in 2005 or 2006, while apparent labour productivity was EUR 78.0 thousand per person employed. For both of these indicators these were the highest levels recorded among the transport equipment manufacturing subsectors. Combining the ratios of apparent labour productivity and average personnel costs, the EU-27’s wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio for aerospace equipment manufacturing was 131.4 % in 2006, slightly below the transport equipment manufacturing average (133.3 %). In most Member States[2] value added per person employed exceeded average personnel costs per employee, the exceptions being the Czech Republic, Ireland and Bulgaria where the wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio was below 100 %.

Data sources and availability

The main part of the analysis in this article is derived from structural business statistics (SBS), including core, business statistics which are disseminated regularly, as well as information compiled on a multi-yearly basis, and the latest results from development projects.

Other data sources include Airbus and Boeing.


The transport equipment manufacturing sector is central to economic development, as it provides the means for transporting both individuals and goods. Demand for transport equipment has risen as the volume of goods transported and the distance travelled by passengers have expanded greatly – see the article on [Transport and storage statistics] for information on transport flows.

The issue of sustainable development is likely to play an important role in future product developments, as transport equipment manufacturers try to meet demands for more environmentally friendly transport solutions, for example, engines with lower fuel consumption or emissions.

Most transport equipment manufacturing activities are structured on the basis of complex pyramidal relationships between major manufacturers and several tiers of component suppliers, ranging from systems suppliers down to very small, specialised manufacturers that may provide a single component for a vehicle. It is common to find clusters of enterprises concentrated in regions around the leading producers.

The aerospace equipment manufacturing sector is highly concentrated within the EU and the United States, and within a few large manufacturers with a pyramidal supply chain: manufacturers of aircraft, missiles, space equipment and engines at the top of the pyramid, followed by a second-tier of suppliers making systems, medium-sized enterprises producing structural elements and components, and a final tier of SMEs producing materials, software and services (note that these may be excluded from data on this sector, as their principal activity may not be the manufacture of aerospace equipment). There are two main market segments for the aerospace sector, military and civilian, with the former dependent on government defence spending plans and the latter being a cyclical market.

Globally the main producers of civil aircraft are Boeing and Airbus; their delivery figures since 1989 clearly indicate the cyclical nature of this part of the sector.

Aerospace equipment manufacturing is one of the most important manufacturing sectors in terms of research and development (R & D). The level of intra-mural R & D expenditure by this sector in ten of the Member States (that collectively accounted for more than four fifths of EU-27 value added in this sector) reached EUR 6.8 billion. This sector's contribution to manufacturing (NACE Section D) R & D was particularly significant in the United Kingdom and France, the two EU-27 Member States most specialised in this sector.

Further Eurostat information


Main tables


Dedicated section

External links

See also


  1. Cyprus, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia, 2005; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Romania, not available.
  2. The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia, 2005; Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg and Malta, not available.