Best of Times, Worst of Times for Aviation Manufacturers

The booming aircraft business has continued throughout the year with book-to-bill ratios remaining well above 1:1 and in some cases 2:1. Textron Aviation saw its backlog swell by $700 million alone in the second quarter to $5.8 billion. This story was shared by many manufacturers.

Yet in July, Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, testified before the House aviation subcommittee that “I have never seen a time where the manufacturers and maintenance organizations are under such tough times.”

At the heart of his concerns is the workforce. The lack of workers, exacerbated by a stubbornly persistent Covid pandemic, is constraining the supply chain and prolonging certification schedules. This is affecting industry and regulators alike. Compounding all of this is the Russia-Ukraine conflict. As a result, manufacturers have been unable to or cautious about their ramp-up plans to meet demand. And in some cases, these issues are causing aircraft deliveries to slip and certification schedules to slide.

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