What is the most successful propeller plane

The 10 largest aircraft manufacturers and engine builders in the world

As the bankruptcy of the airline Air Berlin shows, there is a lot of movement in the flying business. But not only Air Berlin and Co. have to adjust to changes, but also the manufacturers. A lot has happened through mergers, only the top is cemented: Boeing and Airbus are right at the top. Here is the list of the largest aerospace companies in the world.

Airbus aircraft at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget: Airbus is the second largest aircraft manufacturer in the world - behind the US group Boeing.

Photo: R. Gnecco / Airbus

Two Thunderbirds from Lockheed Martin: The armaments company is the most successful defense technology company in the world.

Photo: Lockheed Martin

Engine from the French manufacturer Safran.

Photo: saffron

General Electric Aerospace engine: GE is the world's largest engine manufacturer ahead of Rolls Royce and Pratt & Whitney.

Photo: General Electric Aerospace

Engine from Pratt & Whitney: The manufacturer belongs to the conglomerate United Technologies.

Photo: Pratt & Whitney

The A380 - here at the aircraft fair in Paris - is currently the problem child at Airbus. The trend is more towards smaller aircraft.

Photo: P. Masclet / Airbus

The 737 is Boeing's best-selling aircraft. The US group is ahead of Airbus the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world - also thanks to a large defense technology division.

Photo: Boeing

Boeing's F15: Last year, the US corporation turned over $ 29.5 billion in defense products alone, significantly more than twice as much as Airbus.

Photo: Boeing

2016 was a year that heralded many changes for aircraft manufacturers. In the commercial aircraft business, there were signs of a downturn, which is not surprising after the previous years with a large number of orders. At the same time, however, the election of Donald Trump as US President heralded a strong upswing for American defense technology, which is now spreading across large parts of the world.

Both tendencies continued in 2017 and are expected to continue to shape the aerospace industry in 2018. In addition, there is the concentration movement, which has already begun to be reflected in the 2016 ranking.

The British mechanical engineering company GKN Aerospace has moved up from 34th to 29th place in the Top 100 list with the takeover of Fokker in the Netherlands. The British producer Chemring also moved up five places through takeovers from 90th to 85th place. In Germany, Diehl Aerosystems improved by five places from 59th to 54th place without any spectacular takeovers.

In detail, the world rankings offer the following picture:

12. Honeywell - an aerospace conglomerate

The American company had sales of around 11.7 billion US dollars in the aerospace sector in 2016. Of this, 4.37 billion went to the military business, in which Honeywell occupied 9th place in the relevant aerospace world rankings. Honeywell builds engines and a wide range of components for commercial and military aircraft.

11. Rolls Royce - second largest engine manufacturer in the world

The British company Rolls Royce achieved a turnover of 12.2 billion dollars in 2016, the majority of which was accounted for by commercial engines. Rolls Royce supplies them all, the big leaders in this ranking: Airbus, Boeing and Lockheer Martin. In addition to the engine business, the British have a significant maintenance and repair business with airlines. In the military business, however, Rolls Royce is not one of the 10 largest in the world.

10. Leonardo S.p.A. dominates Italy's aerospace industry

The Italian group Leonardo S.p.A. operated as Finmeccanica until 2016 and controlled almost all defense, aerospace and aerospace companies in Italy. After major restructuring and rationalization, Leonardo turned over around $ 12.8 billion in 2016. Defense technology accounted for $ 8.17 billion of this.

9. BAE is the UK's leading aerospace group

BAE had sales of around 13.3 billion dollars in 2016, all of which was attributable to defense technology, in whose aerospace world rankings BAE revived fifth place. BAE mainly builds combat aircraft.

8. Saffron - number 2 in Europe

The French company, which had sales of around 16.8 billion dollars in 2016, is General Electric's European partner in engine construction. Zodiak, a French company, which primarily develops and builds interior fittings for commercial aircraft, has recently become part of the other civilian activities.

7. Raytheon is entirely focused on defense technology

The American group focuses on guided missiles and missile defense systems. In 2016, Raytheon had a total of $ 24.1 billion in sales, all of which came from military clients. In the aerospace world rankings for the military business, Raytheon ranks fourth, just behind Northrop Grumman.

6. Northrop Grumman - a purely defense technology company

In 2016, Northrop Grumman had sales of $ 24.5 billion. A few years ago, the company still relied on military and business aircraft, but the Americans are no longer engaged in civilian business.

5. General Electric Aerospace

General Electric is an extremely diversified American conglomerate whose large GE Aerospace division is dominated by engine construction. GE is the world's largest engine manufacturer - ahead of Rolls Royce and Pratt & Whitney. GE Aerospace had a total of $ 26.3 billion in sales in 2016. When it comes to defense technology, GE is not one of the ten largest in the world.

4. United Technologies is a general store

Behind the not very specific name United Technologies stands a conglomerate of various companies in the USA - from the engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to the elevator manufacturer Otis. In 2016, the group had a total of 29 billion dollars in aerospace sales. There should be a leap up in 2017 when flight electronics producer Rockwell Collins is incorporated. In the military business, United Technologies was the 10th largest manufacturer in the world with sales of $ 3.48 billion in 2016.

3. Lockheed Martin is the world market leader in defense technology

The American group increased its sales in 2016 by 16.8 percent to 47.2 billion dollars. This mainly reflected strong orders from the home country USA. Lockheed Martin no longer has any significant civil business today.

2. Airbus remains far behind the market leader

The European Airbus group had sales of around 70.8 billion dollars in 2016, of which 52.4 billion were from commercial aircraft. Airbus was more successful than Boeing, especially with smaller aircraft, and was able to increase civilian sales by 7.4 percent. In the military business, Airbus had to accept a sales decline of 9.4 percent to 12.6 billion dollars.

1. Boeing remains the front runner by a large margin

The global market leader from Seattle had a total of 96.1 billion dollars in 2016. This is due to high deliveries of commercial aircraft and a strong military business. Boeing made $ 65.7 billion for civil aircraft. In the military business, Boeing had sales of $ 29.5 billion. In defense technology, Boeing is once again the second largest provider in the world after Lockheed Martin.

Source for all figures: PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC).


A contribution by:

  • Peter Odrich

    Peter Odrich studied business administration with a focus on transport companies. After 28 years as a business editor for a German national daily newspaper with long activities in East Asia, he returned to his native Great Britain. Since then he has reported freelance for newspapers and technical information services in various countries. Transport issues, metals and East Asian issues are in the foreground.