German aerospace industry boasts brisk business | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 16.04.2012
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German aerospace industry boasts brisk business

German aerospace producers can look back on a successful 2011 with increasing revenues. But while planes and helicopters for civil purposes are in high demand, defense sector sales have crumbled.

Germany's space and aviation sector booked an overall year-on-year increase in sales of 4.1 percent in 2011, the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI) reported on Monday.

Revenues last year totaled 25.7 billion euros ($33.4 billion), up from 24.7 billion euros in 2010. The sector increased its workforce nationwide by 2.1 percent to reach 97,400 employees.

"The German space and aviation industries were once again a strong driver for innovation and jobs in 2011," BDLI President Thomas Enders said in a statement. "We were able to create some 2,000 new jobs in Germany alone."

Spending on research and development remained stable at 16.8 percent of overall revenues. Exports continued to make up the majority of the business at 63.5 percent of total production.

Many civil aviation manufacturers posted impressive growth rates, with full order books all year round. This applied in particular to suppliers of jet engines as well as specialized equipment and advanced materials.

The sky's the limit

And the sector can look ahead to a lucrative future, with growth rates of 5.0 percent annually predicted for civil aviation. German producers look set to profit from the continuing boom in orders for aircraft from Boeing and Airbus, in particular their involvement as supplies to the A350 and A 380 passenger jet programs.

Civil helicopter production was also on the rise again in Germany in 2011, marking a swift recovery from a marked slump the year before.

Bad news, however, came from the aviation's defense sector which reported a 1.1-percent drop in sales last year, with revenues amounting to 6.4 billion euros. Small and medium-sized defense manufacturers logged a double-digit drop in sales.

The BDLI told reporters on Monday the decrease in turnover in the defense sector had among other things been a result of ongoing, large-scale restructuring within the national armed forces, the Bundeswehr, which was called upon to save over eight billion euros in the next couple of years.

hg/mll (dpa, dapd)