Despite a challenging economic environment, the United States aerospace industry will see record sales of $216.5 billion in 2010, its seventh straight year of growth, according to the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA).
“A funny thing happened on the way to doomsday; aerospace continued to grow,” said Marion C. Blakey, AIA president and CEO. Blakey delivered AIA’s Year-End Review and Forecast on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Ongoing strength in military aircraft sales, which are expected to increase by 8 percent over 2009 to $64.5 billion, will offset a decline in civil aerospace. Sales of civil aircraft are expected to decline 6 percent to $48.2 billion.
“There’s no doubt there has been some tough sledding … but we have a good product,” Blakey told 300 assembled representatives of industry and the media. “Downward pressure on the defense budget and a balky recovery have caused some sleepless nights.”
However, Blakey said the prognosis has improved from just a few months ago, and civil aircraft sales are expected to show growth sooner than expected. Sales of civil aircraft are expected to increase to $50 billion in 2011, still less than pre-recession levels but on the “right trajectory,” Blakey said.
The growth will be led by narrowbody airliners and cargo aircraft, and driven by the Asia-Pacific region. Business aircraft sales, however, will be a “mixed bag,” with higher-end jets predominating over small to midsize aircraft.
Blakey, who formerly served as FAA administrator and chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, called on government to continue support of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). “We’ve got to invest in NextGen,” she said. “ … Acceleration of (the system) pays off relatively quickly.”