Coronavirus: New aircraft orders slump to record low after pandemic hits global travel industry

The aircraft industry has pleaded for a testing regime for travellers as new figures show its third quarter was the worst on record.

There were no orders for new aircraft in the month of September and just 13 orders placed during the financial quarter, a decline of 91.4% on the same quarter last year.

July and August had four and nine orders respectively, with just three of those for wide-body aircraft.

The global figures are from ADS, the UK trade organisation representing more than 1,100 businesses across the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors.

There were 173 new aircraft delivered during the third quarter – also the worst on record but showing signs of improvement, the organisation said.

Most of these were single-aisle planes, with just 38 of them wide-body aircraft, showing the decline in demand for long-haul international travel.

The aviation industry has been hit by travel restrictions and a fall in journeys due to fears of the coronavirus pandemic, which began to affect the industry in the early months of this year.

Travellers, particularly in the UK, have also been reluctant to book flights due to the long wait for refunds if trips are cancelled and the requirements for quarantine on their return – measures that are regularly changed.

ADS chief executive Paul Everitt said: “The aerospace and aviation industries have invested in robust health and safety measures as part of aircraft design which makes the risk of transmission when travelling aboard an aircraft extremely low.

“We need to continue to work together internationally to improve consumer confidence and encourage a return to the skies.

“The quarantine period that passengers face when they return home is one of the main barriers to UK aviation’s recovery and testing can play a major role in reducing this.

“The government should rapidly implement a testing regime so that the 14-day quarantine period can be shortened. This will help improve confidence amongst travellers and in turn put the aviation and aerospace sectors on a path towards recovery.”

Ministers have confirmed they are looking at reducing the time that people have to quarantine at home from 14 days to between 10 days and a week.

It follows concerns some people are failing to respond when they are being contacted by the system because of fears they could face a lengthy period locked up at home if they do.

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