2013 was a banner year for airplane makers

Revenues rose nearly 9 percent, while profits were up more than 16 percent, for commercial aircraft manufacturers around the world in 2013, according to Deloitte’s analysis of the top 100 global aerospace companies.

Demand for new aircraft, high production rates and a huge order backlog helped feed the sector’s robust performance, which brought in nearly $105 billion in revenues, according to a news release about the analysis.

Airlines need new airplanes to keep up with increasing travel demand — especially in the Middle East, India and China — and to replace older aircraft with new fuel-efficient models.

Aircraft manufacturers turned out 1,274 aircraft in 2013, a 31 percent increase over 2010 production and more than twice as many commercial airplanes made in 2003, according to the release.

Airplane makers raised their profits, in part, through increasing efficiency in their pricing, operations, and managing suppliers and programs, according to the analysis.

European producers experienced the biggest boost in profits — 26.9 percent.

Unless there is some shock to the system, such as a global recession, demand and production levels will remain high, said Tom Captain, who heads up Deloitte’s U.S. and Global Aerospace and Defense section.

“The key challenge for the commercial aircraft manufacturers is to de-risk the supply chain by helping suppliers address the capacity and capability requirements of increased rates of production, while lowering overall costs,” Captain said.

The findings are based on Deloitte’s analysis of the financial performance of 100 major global and U.S. aerospace and defense companies in 2013. Performance indicators included sales revenue, operating earnings and operating margins, obtained through company filings and press releases.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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