Our comprehensive research on the aerospace manufacturing industry, reveals its resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential to surpass pre-pandemic levels. Backed by extensive research and data from our software Observatory, Cambashi’s research emphasizes the industry’s recovery and future growth prospects.

Download our recent article “Aerospace global performance trends post-pandemic

Aerospace Industry Trends and Challenges

Aerospace companies face a number of challenges outside of their businesses over which they have little control. The companies best placed to deal with changing market dynamics study industry trends and try to predict them in advance, whilst those poorly prepared adopt a more reactive response and often find themselves playing catch-up.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, there were several trends that chemical companies were responding to. As the industry recovers from the pandemic some of those trends remain, and some new challenges have emerged. Those include:

  • supply chain disruptions
  • high interest rates in developed economies
  • skilled worker shortages

Despite ongoing headwinds, the industry is expected to grow steadily in 2023. Some of the trends that will continue to drive the industry forward in 2023 include:

  • push towards sustainability
  • increase in defense spending
  • increase in global passenger traffic
  • development of new propulsion technologies

E-learning course

  • Self-paced e-learning
  • CPE/CPD-approved
  • Designed for customer-facing professionals

▪ Identify companies operating in both the civil and defense aerospace sectors
▪ Grasp the key characteristics defining the industry through to manufacture and after sales support
▪ Differentiate and recall the relationships between members of the aerospace supply chain
▪ Recognize the business implications of current aerospace industry trends
▪ Identify the industry terminology

Aerospace Industry Insights

Cambashi Aerospace Industry Insights offers tactical industry intelligence updated by industry experts, that provides the latest information from across the globe:

  • Tactical industry intelligence updated in real-time by industry experts
  • The latest trends & challenges, business drivers, products & services, and technologies
  • Key players, business strategies, and initiatives
  • Industry terminology and metrics
  • Deeper knowledge across a variety of industry subjects

Access Cambashi’s Industry Insights Demonstration.

What is the current position of the aerospace industry?

Leading global commercial aerospace OEMs estimate that global passenger traffic will return to 2019 levels by the end of 2023, or early 2024. This could, in turn, result in production ramp-ups to remediate growing backlogs and drive industry revenue throughout the rest of 2023.

While the civil sector is still returning to pre-pandemic levels, the defense sector remained stable through 2022 and is expected to outperform commercial aerospace. This growth is attributed to the rise in defense budgets following the start of the war in Ukraine, which resulted in a heightened global demand for military equipment.

However, ongoing supply chain issues and high inflation remain the two largest threats to the industry, with both Boeing and Airbus warning of supply chain issues and production delays.

High inflation poses a significant challenge due to its negative impact on household income and consumer confidence, both of which have an impact on air travel demand. The global aerospace industry is particularly affected because major aerospace producers, such as the US, eurozone, and UK, bear the majority of the economic impact.

Despite ongoing headwinds, the industry is expected to grow steadily in 2023. Growth will be fueled by an increase in global passenger traffic and a rise in defense spending. Elevated geopolitical tensions around the world have led to a number of countries increasing their defense budgets, driving spending on military aircraft.


Software plays a major role in the aerospace industry as it is essential to design, simulation, production, supply chain, and maintenance activities.
The relative sizes of the Computer-Aided Technologies (Mechanical CAD, Mechanical CAE, CAM) and PLM software sectors in the global aerospace market. The total is worth approximately $US2 billion annually. Surprisingly, MCAE is bigger than MCAD, showing the importance of engineering analysis and simulation in the Aerospace sector.

Research for Cambashi’s ‘Insights’, combined with data from our software and employment ‘Observatories’, shows that the aerospace manufacturing industry has stood up well through the COVID-19 pandemic and is already returning to pre-pandemic levels or better. This is partly due to the defense sector, which has been relatively unaffected, and partly because of the space industry which is a thriving sub-set. Both areas have advanced products with complex supply chains that require sophisticated design/engineering/manufacturing software.

Historically, the MCAD market in aerospace was much larger than MCAE, but the MCAD market is flattening out while MCAE continues to accelerate. The need for virtual and remote working is another factor that is driving both MCAE and MCAD.

Digital Twin

Digital Twins match digital models to physical entities that can range from a single component to an entire aircraft. This is particularly useful when simulating aerodynamic performance using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) to improve the surface flow, and when using FEA (Finite Element Analysis) to stress-test candidate designs.

Wind tunnels and fatigue testing rigs will still be used (as they have been in the past) but Digital Twins make it possible to perform many more design iterations and stress tests prior to building and testing prototypes; they can also be used to model the final, flying aircraft and collect real-time sensor data for analysis, to predict potential failures and the steps to avoid them. Simulation, CFD and analysis are all CAE software capabilities, and the figure shows its relative importance in aerospace compared to CAD, CAM, and PLM.

With the Digital Twin approach, maintenance or upgrades can be planned and tested in detail prior to performing the work and all the correct parts can be obtained in advance – this is particularly important in AOG (Aircraft on Ground) situations when an aircraft is stranded, and it is essential that the correct replacement parts are urgently delivered. The Digital Twin approach is becoming very important in the post-pandemic era as it enables performance-informed decision-making throughout the entire lifecycle of a product or process.

Design/Engineering/Manufacturing SoftwareMarket Share – Aerospace Industry

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