The commercial aerospace industry
This chapter gives a concise overview of key innovations that led to the current global dimensions of commercial aerospace. It describes some of the major development milestones for products and manufacturing processes. The chapter assesses key characteristics of today's industry. It looks at the main manufacturers' output and how the industry has undergone significant consolidation over the decades. The chapter discusses the size of the global fleet and its geographical distribution. It contains brief discussions of the economic importance of the industry and of a key future challenge crucial to the success of the industry – environmental sustainability. The chapter concludes with an outlook for the near and far future of the industry. While much of the next decade is determined by existing aircraft products and large manufacturer backlogs, new aircraft and new destinations will certainly emerge from an industry with a proven track record of innovation.