Coronavirus: Aircraft orders slump as travel industry struggles continue

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
Delta Air Lines passenger planes are seen parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S. March 25, 2020.  REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
September’s figures represent a decline of more than 90% on the same period last year. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

The airline industry has seen its worst third quarter on record, as the confidence in travel continues to be knocked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were no new orders for aircraft in September, and only 13 orders placed during the entire financial quarter, according to ADS, the UK trade organisation representing businesses across the aerospace industry.

September’s figures represent a decline of more than 90% on the same period last year.

July and August were also down, with just four and nine orders respectively. Just three of those were for wide-body aircraft.

In total for Q3, 174 new aircraft were delivered. This was also the worst on record but showed signs of improvement, ADS said.

The industry has called for a testing regime for travellers amid the dire data, to help improve confidence in the safety of travelling.

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.

"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.”

Earlier this month, government ministers said they were looking into reducing the 14-day quarantine period for new arrivals.

The taskforce is evaluating various different approaches to testing as well as partnerships with other countries.

READ MORE: What to watch: HSS sinks on fundraise, stocks sell-off, and The Hut Group sales soar

The news comes amid a bad day on the stock market for travel stocks. They were among the hardest hit across Europe this morning. Travel agent Tui (TUI.L) slumped 5.5%, British Airways-owner IAG (IAG.L) fell 2.1%, and Lufthansa (LHA.DE) was 1.8% lower. This is partially due to worsening coronavirus caseloads.

As some sectors of the economy have enjoyed a modest rebound since lockdowns have eased, air travel is still at a faction of normal levels.

Watch: What is inflation and why is it important?