Army Services

Has COVID-19 changed the aerospace industry forever?

In the early days of the pandemic, air travel dropped by 90 percent and whole fleets of aircraft were grounded across the globe

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted society and ordinary citizens on a scale not seen since the Second World War. Whole continents have been paralyzed, economies have been shut down, and civil rights have been restricted in an effort to fight the virus. One aspect of this society-wide shock has been the deep impact the pandemic is having on industries such as aerospace.

During a recent profile interview, Dr. Carlos Cesnik, the director of the Airbus-University of Michigan Center for Aero-Servo-Elasticity of Very Flexible Aircraft, was asked a routine question about what he thought the aircraft of the future would look like. The result was rather surprising.

“If we are having this conversation in early March,” said Cesnik, “I could give you an answer based on what we’re doing. Today. I’m not sure if I can answer the question.

It’s hard to remember that only four months ago, the aerospace industry was churning out aircraft at unprecedented rates, and airlines were worried that the temporary grounding of the 737 MAX might interfere with what looked like a year of nothing but historic highs. Back then, there were fears that there would not be enough pilots or mechanics to handle what seemed insatiable air travel demand.

Today, in the wake of a worldwide pandemic that has already killed a quarter of a million people and shut down much of the world’s economic activity, more than 70 percent of the global aviation fleet is grounded. Of the 27,500 aircraft in service at the beginning of 2020, less than 7,500 are still flying. And the fleet is unlikely to top 27,000 again until the end of 2022 at the earliest.

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Aerospace faces an inventory pile-up of unwanted aircraft ordered in the heyday that may take up to five years to work through. COVID-19 burst the bubble that was fueled by air traffic, global economic growth, and business and leisure trends, triggering massive cutbacks in capacity, layoffs, and order cancellations all along the supply chain. The contraction’s force, depth, and duration make it an unprecedented calamity that will force the industry to consolidate and emerge on the other side more efficient and integrated, but with far fewer players.

Struggling airlines

The reason for the industry’s malaise is clear: Passenger business has evaporated and airlines — aerospace’s primary customers — are in dire trouble. The 900-plus carriers operating today will be closer to 600 within the next three years because of closures and consolidation. Only about one-quarter have enough cash to make it through the next three months without securing new sources of funding.

To offset the collapse of revenue, airlines are resorting to the quickest fix to cut operating costs — they’re taking aircraft out of service. At some point in 2020, we anticipate close to 18,000 planes to be parked or put in storage, many to never return.

Retirements will be up as well. While for the last five years somewhere between 550 and 750 planes have been retired annually, we expect to see a surge to more than 2,600 over the next 12 months. Candidates now include those planes only 20 years old rather than the typical 25-year-old aircraft.

Ripple effect of a smaller fleet

Thousands of planes sitting around will have a ripple effect through the entire aviation industry. From a manufacturer’s point of view, it means airlines will hesitate to order new planes and will be challenged to accept delivery on ones spoken for earlier. Where pre-COVID we expected 1,066 new planes to be delivered in 2020, that forecast has been whittled down to 522 since the advent of the novel coronavirus contagion. This situation is being exacerbated by the return to service of 737 MAX aircraft that were produced in 2019, but remain undelivered, given the decision by regulators to ground the aircraft in March of that year. 

In turn, that clogged pipeline is prompting a reduction in production — one that is still not deep enough to match the drop in deliveries. Right now, we estimate there will be in production somewhere between 100 and 200 so-called white tails — aircraft without buyers. That scale of mismatch between production and deliveries is unprecedented. While those planes will be among the first to be sold off once the market begins to come back, they will inevitably be bought at discounted prices. Despite the overhang, aerospace players cannot completely turn off production if they are to preserve their supply chains. We anticipate a rebound, but not for another two years at a minimum and probably longer.

The production that does happen will support a different mix of aircraft models. Narrowbody aircraft with single aisles — already increasingly favored by airlines — will represent an even larger percentage of production while the portion of widebody jets that predominantly serve international routes can be expected to shrink. In our models, international travel will be the last segment to recover because of ongoing governmental restrictions and a hesitancy among passengers to stray beyond their home countries.

The pain from too much aerospace inventory will also trickle down to the spare parts and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) aftermarket, with many of the parked planes eventually picked apart for components and other reusable materials. Ultimately, this cannibalization will cut demand for MRO services in half in 2020 — down to about $42.7 billion from the previously forecast $91.2 billion — and threaten the survival of many of the smaller, more vulnerable aftermarket suppliers. Over 10 years through 2030, we estimate the size of the MRO market will be $150 billion less than originally forecast.

New stipulations and business models

Government intervention may end up being a deciding factor on which enterprises will be winners and losers in the COVID-19 crisis. Given the potential size of the coronavirus-related corporate bailout, governments are apt to place strings on the money — requiring, for instance, that companies maintain certain employment levels or agree to specified reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. For instance, France has already said it will ask Air France to cut its emissions and the number of domestic flights it offers as a condition of receiving COVID bailout money. Other nations are expected to follow France’s lead.

As companies fight for subsidies, airlines, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, and MRO providers will begin to consolidate — reorganizing around those most likely to benefit from state aid and most likely to thrive in the harsh economic environment. Aerospace manufacturers can also be expected to intervene to protect their supply chain through direct and indirect aid, joint ventures, and acquisitions and by becoming much more involved in supplier operations. Simultaneously, the OEMs are likely to reduce the complexity of their networks and number of suppliers.

Because of the financial pressures, new business models are also likely to evolve. For instance, airlines may find it too expensive to keep aircraft on their own balance sheet, and aerospace manufacturers could decide it is in their interest to participate more directly in leasing and asset management services, both to generate more business and utilize undelivered airplanes. A trend like this would also impact MRO, a sector into which aerospace manufacturers are already expanding and have voiced the desire to do more. A move toward leasing increases the likelihood of OEM growth in aftermarket services, if they decide it’s cheaper to do maintenance in-house.

Moving forward

This is a challenging time for all participants in the industry — an abrupt and brutal stall in what looked to be, before COVID-19, a decade of growth. But even before the coronavirus, global economies were showing signs of fatigue, and most players were already executing on strategies to blunt any negative impact from an anticipated slowdown at least in the early years of the decade.

Now, preparations must be made for a reversal and a consolidation of players. By mid-decade — assuming an eventual containment of the virus — the industry will be back on its way to building a 35,000-aircraft fleet by 2030. It may not be the 39,000 originally forecast, but it will still represent for the remaining companies a decade of growth, despite its horrific beginning. 

79 Songs About Soldiers and Veterans

There is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Make a playlist about soldiers and veterans to honor those who protect your liberty.  We have a long list of pop, rock, metal, and country songs to get you started.

Make a playlist about soldiers and veterans to honor those who protect your liberty. We have a long list of pop, rock, metal, and country songs to get you started. 

Soldiers Put It All on the Line for Freedom

Chances are that you have a veteran or active military member in your social network. But have you stopped to truly listen to their story and reflect on what their contributions mean to your freedom?

Men and women in uniform have put it all on the line for their country, setting aside their personal lives, often at great expense to their families and themselves. How often do you express your gratitude for their sacrifices?

Recognize veterans’ heroic contributions to preserving liberty and freedom with a custom playlist. Here’s a long list of pop, rock, and country songs about military personnel. You don’t have to wait until Veterans Day, Memorial Day, or Fourth of July to reflect on their heroism.

1. “For You” by Keith Urban

The soldier in this heartrending 2012 hit has a wife and an unborn child who wait for him at home. But in the heat of combat, with smoke, fire, and bullets flying, he doesn’t think twice about taking a bullet for his fellow soldier. He knows this sacrifice is his duty and that others would do the same for him. That’s the heroism of our men and women in uniform.



2. “American Soldier” by Toby Keith

Toby Keith drew fire from fans when he appeared at Donald Trump’s pre-inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial and sang this 2003 country hit. It describes an American soldier—a family man, a hard worker, steady, brave, honorable, and good under pressure. In answering critics, the singer noted that he had appeared at the inauguration events of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

3. “8th of November” by Big & Rich

This poignant 2005 country song tells the story of Niles Harris, a 19-year-old boy from Deadwood, South Dakota, who hugged his mother goodbye as he left home for the army to fight during the Vietnam War. Just a few months later, on November 8, 1965, he encountered an epic battle he would remember the rest of his life.

Forty-eight fellow soldiers died in combat that day, and Niles was left with shrapnel in his leg as a reminder of their sacrifice. Decades later, he still honors their service on the 8th of November by putting on a suit and tie.

In case you’re wondering … yes, Niles is indeed real.

4. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day

In this haunting 2005 rock hit describing loss, the narrator is going through a difficult time and mourns his innocence. Although the song was written about the passing of Green Day lead lead singer’s father, its video depicts a couple separate by the Iraq War.

Studies suggest that among soldiers who served in Iraq and Afganistan, about one in five suffer post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Among Vietnam Era veterans, as many as 80% reported symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam.

Studies suggest that among soldiers who served in Iraq and Afganistan, about one in five suffer post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Among Vietnam Era veterans, as many as 80% reported symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam

5. “Warrior” by Kid Rock

The National Guard used this 2008 rock song by Kid Rock as a recruitment tool. It features a narrator who celebrates his status as a citizen soldier. He’s ready to go when liberty calls because he understands that freedom isn’t free.

6. “Indestructible” by Disturbed

Meant to be a battle anthem to encourage American soldiers and pump them up as they prepare for combat, this 2008 hard rock song is enough to make anyone feel unassailable. It speaks of no hesitation, a sworn duty to protect, and the honor of returning home victorious.

7. “Didn’t I” by Montgomery Gentry

The 2002 movie We Were Soldiers featured this moving country song on its soundtrack. The song describes a Vietnam era veteran who returns home from war only to face judgment and criticism instead of appreciation for his service.

Rhetorically, the veteran asks whether he burned and bled enough and endured enough physical and emotional pain to warrant a better homecoming. About 9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam era (1964 to 1975). Many faced protests, indifference, and a dearth of resource assistance with reintegrating into American society after the war.

Veterans Day, celebrated November 11, honors service members both alive and deceased.  Memorial Day, celebrated the last Monday of May, honors military members who died while serving their country.

Veterans Day, celebrated November 11, honors service members both alive and deceased. Memorial Day, celebrated the last Monday of May, honors military members who died while serving their country.

8. “‘Til The Last Shot’s Fired” by Trace Adkins

This country song from 2008 commemorates soldiers from the American Civil War to World War II to Vietnam. The nature of the conflict may have been different, but the horror of war is the same. The narrator urges us all to say a prayer for peace.

9. “Brothers” by Dean Brody

Brothers can be counted on, although they don’t always express their emotions well verbally. That’s the message behind this tender 2009 country song that shares memories from the narrator’s childhood.

A young boy’s older brother is leaving for the military, and at first the child preferred not to say goodbye, thinking that he could deny his brother’s leaving away. At the last moment, the boy runs to his brother and offers to clean his room, give him his rookie Joe DiMaggio card, anything to prevent his departure.

Two years later, the soldier returns in a wheelchair and says that he’s sorry that his younger sibling has to push him home. The younger brother replies, “This is what brothers are for.

10. “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Recognized by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” this seminal 1969 rock song is also one of Rolling Stonemagazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

During the Vietnam era, “Fortunate Son” was an anti-war anthem that was used to express rebuke for people who supported war but didn’t have to bear its burdens, either financially or by serving. About three-fourths of the military personnel who served in Vietnam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds.

11. “Citizen Soldier” by 3 Doors Down

This 2007 rock song pays tribute to the National Guard:

Hope and pray that you’ll never need me,
But rest assured I will not let you down.
I’ll walk beside you but you may not see me,
The strongest among you may not wear a crown.

It was used as a part of the National Guard’s recruiting campaign and references the vital role that the Guard plays in both homeland security and national defense.

America’s citizen soldiers may be activated to respond to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and wildfires. They may also be deployed to help when peace is threatened by riots, civil unrest and terrorist events.

12. “The Pride” by Five Finger Death Punch

This high energy 2011 metal song conveys an American soldier’s strength, pride, and unwavering readiness to defend, whatever the cost. In rapid succession, the song lists many iconic elements of American culture to represent all that a soldier protects when he or she serves our country. Our freedom, values and way of life hangs in the balance when troops are called to defend our country.

13. “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)” by Shinedown

Written for the 2010 movie The Expendables, this rock song expresses the intensity of being on the front line of combat. With nothing to lose, a soldier operates on sheer adrenaline and a “fist first” mentality, thinking quickly in a brutal high-stakes battle.

14. “Letters From Home” by John Michael Montgomery

Sometimes simple things such as letters can do wonders to boost soldier morale. In this 2004 country song, a young soldier receives a letter from his mother about the details of everyday life back at home. He also gets a love letter from his fiance and a brief letter from his stoic dad that shares how proud he is of his son. Each helps to spur him on amidst the terrible uncertainty that is war.

15. “Hey Brother” by Avicci

This 2013 pop song expresses the devotion felt between siblings and others who still feel intensely connected when one of them is far away. Although separated by distance, they sense when the other is lonely or in danger:

Oh, if the sky comes falling down, for you
There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.

16. “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)” by Toby Keith

After 9/11, this country song became a rousing anthem for the guys and gals in uniform. Full of bravado, the 2002 song features a narrator fondly recalling his war hero father. Then he launches into a promise of American vengeance for the sucker punch terrorist attack on 9/11:

Justice will be served
And the battle will rage
This big dog will fight
When you rattle his cage
And you’ll be sorry that you messed with
The U.S. of A.
`Cause we`ll put a boot in your a*s
It`s the American way

17. “Some Gave All” by Billy Ray Cyrus

The narrator in this touching 1992 country hit recalls a friend who matured dramatically after his combat experiences. The friend remarked that when you think of your liberty, think of him as well as other veterans. The veteran explained to the narrator that “All gave some; some gave all

Fifteen U.S. Presidents have not served in the military:  Trump, Obama, Clinton, FDR, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, Wilson, Taft, Cleveland, Fillmore, Van Buren, John Quincy Adams, Jefferson, and John Adams.

Fifteen U.S. Presidents have not served in the military: Trump, Obama, Clinton, FDR, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, Wilson, Taft, Cleveland, Fillmore, Van Buren, John Quincy Adams, Jefferson, and John Adams.

18. “Heaven Was Needing a Hero” by Jo Dee Messina

In this 2010 country song, the sweetheart of a fallen soldier visits his grave. Although she always told him that he wouldn’t be called home until it was his time, she justifies his untimely death as due to heaven’s needing a hero.

The Veterans Administration estimates that over 7% of all living Americans has served in the military at some point in their lives.

The Veterans Administration estimates that over 7% of all living Americans has served in the military at some point in their lives.

19. “Letters from the Garden of Stone” by Everlast

A combat soldier sits by the moonlight readying himself for battle at daylight in this 2008 rock song. At first, he shows little emotion about what he has to do — kill or be killed. He tries to push back thoughts of family members, however the more their memories begin to creep in, the more he questions whether he’s doing the right thing fighting.

20. “The Other Little Soldier” by Josh Gracin

Feel the lump in your throat form as you listen to this country tune from 2004. It describes a small boy who plays dress up in his dad’s military uniform. Even though he doesn’t have the maturity to understand what his father is fighting for, the child is proud and wants to grow up just like his role model.

When Uncle Sam calls his dad to combat, sadly, his dad returns in a flag-draped casket. The little boy gives his father one last goodbye salute. This child represents the legion of military family members who also make sacrifices in wartime and in peace

There are seven uniformed branches of the U.S. military:  Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps.

There are seven uniformed branches of the U.S. military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps.

Even More Songs About Soldiers and Veterans

Year Released
21. Travelin’ Soldier
Dixie Chicks
22. Riding with Private Malone
David Ball
23. Goodnight Saigon
Billy Joel
24. I Want You to Live
George Canyon
25. If I Don’t Make It Back
Tracy Lawrence
26. If You’re Reading This
Tim McGraw
27. Arlington
Trace Adkins
28. Come Home Soon
29. 50,000 Names Carved in the Wall
George Jones
30. Belleau Wood
Garth Brooks
31. I Just Came Back (from a War)
Darryl Worley
32. Soldiers and Jesus
James Otto
33. I Drive Your Truck
Lee Brice
34. The Ballad of the Green Berets
Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler
35. Remember the Heroes
Sammy Hagar
36. Sam Stone
John Prine
37. Who You’d Be Today
Kenny Chesney
38. One Hell of an Amen
Brantley Gilbert
39. Fallen Soldier
Nathan Fair
40. Once I Was
Tim Buckley
41. Orange Crush
42. I Was Only 19
43. Still a Soldier
Trace Adkins
44. Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town
Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
45. War Is Hell (On the Homefront Too)
T.G. Sheppard
46. More Than a Name on a Wall
The Statler Brothers
47. Castle of Glass
Linkin Park
48. Wrong Side of Heaven
Five Finger Death Punch
49. Rooster
Alice in Chains
50. For Whom the Bell Tolls
51. I Remember (It’s Happening Again)
Griffin House
52. Camoflague
Stan Ridgway
53. Just a Dream
Carrie Underwood
54. 19
Paul Hardcastle
55. Soldier Boy
The Shirelles
56. Airborne
Nina Lee
57. Dress Blues
Zac Brown Band
58. People Back Home
Florida Georgia Line
59. If Not Me
Craig Morgan
60. In the Navy
Village People
61. Navy Blue
Diane Renay
62. Mother’s Pride
George Michael
63. Walking on a This Line
Huey Lewis
64. Home of the Brave
65. In My Blood
Black Stone Cherry
66. Dear John
67. Your Heart Belongs to Me
The Supremes
68. Pass the Ammo
Moonshine Bandits
69. American Pride
Moonshine Bandits
70. Letters from Home
Mark Schultz
71. Angel Flight
Radney Foster and the Confessions
72. Hero Of War
Rise Against
73. Out of Harm’s Way
74. The Ballad of Penny Evans
Steve Goodman
75. Soldiers
76. Gunslinger
Avenged Sevenfold
77. Stop When You See a Uniform
Buddy Brown
78. An Honor to Serve
Ray Boltz
79. Two Soldiers Coming Home
Lori McKenna