The U.S. aerospace industry is the largest in the world and the industry continued to show reasonable strength in 2010 despite the lingering effects of the global economic downturn. In 2010 the U.S. aerospace industry contributed $85 billion in export sales to the U.S. economy. The industry’s positive trade balance of $44.1 billion is the largest trade surplus of any manufacturing industry and came from exporting 42 percent of all aerospace production and 72 percent of civil aircraft and component production.
Foreign firms are attracted to the U.S. aerospace market because it is the largest in the world and has a skilled and hospitable workforce, extensive distribution systems, diverse offerings, and strong support at the local and national level for policy and promotion. According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Commerce, aerospace supports more jobs through exports than any other industry. The U.S. aerospace industry directly employs about 500,000 workers in scientific and technical jobs across the nation and supports more than 700,000 jobs in related fields. Investment in the U.S. aerospace industry is facilitated by a large pool of well trained machinists, aerospace engineers, and other highly-skilled workers with experience in the aerospace industry.
Industry estimates indicate that the annual increase in the number of large commercial air planes over the next 20 years will be 3.2 percent per year for a total of 30,900 valued at $3.6 trillion. Applying a 3.3% annual growth rate over the next five years with 2010 exports as a base ($85B), 2015 aerospace exports are estimated at $99.98B, a 17.6 percent increase over 2010 exports.
Industry SubsectorsLarge Civil Aircraft (LCA) – The U.S. is a global leader in LCA production and offers many opportunities for investment in the LCA supply chain.
Rotorcraft – The U.S. civilian rotorcraft market is diverse with the bulk of new deliveries arriving from mature production lines. The market encompasses emergency medical service (EMS) providers, offshore oil and gas exploration and law enforcement applications. Employment, production and demand in the segment are expected to expand.
Commercial Space – The companies in the U.S. commercial space market are major suppliers to U.S. Government programs, where demand has remained stable during the commercial aerospace downturn and global economic downturn.
General Aviation (GA) – The U.S. is the world’s largest market for GA aircraft. U.S. manufacturers produce a range of GA products including piston aircraft, turboprops, jets, balloons, dirigibles, and experimental aircraft.
Engines - Major engine and powerplant manufacturers are typically part of diversified corporations producing engines for both civil and military aircraft, either alone or as part of one or more joint ventures. Engines and powerplant sales also provide maintenance, repair and overhaul business opportunities.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) - Given the rapid growth of military and civil governmental UAS operations, there is tremendous potential for U.S. industry in the evolving commercial UAS sector.
Airport Infrastructure/Aviation Security - Airport infrastructure and aviation security markets continue to grow both in the U.S. and abroad. Along with infrastructure growth, the evolving security needs both within the U.S. and throughout the world are driving demand for aviation security technologies.
Alternative Aviation Fuels – Demand for alternative fuels in the aviation sector is increasing due to the price volatility of traditional jet fuel and concerns about the effect of aviation on the environment. The U.S. is a leader in alternative aviation fuel research and development, and U.S. producers have successfully completed test flights using fuels from a variety of feedstocks. These fuel producers are actively seeking investment as they move towards commercial production.
Supply Chain - The U.S. has a robust aerospace supply chain with capabilities in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), composites, metal-working, avionics, testing equipment, and coatings. American suppliers are highly sought after partners for aerospace manufacturing programs at home and abroad.
Federal Programs and Recent or Pending LegislationFederal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act: Passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act will increase funding to strengthen airline safety and deploy the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The Administration requested $1.1 billion for NextGen for FY 2011. U.S. deployment of NextGen technologies will reduce airline delays and congestion and increase economic productivity. A March 2010 amendment to the House version of the FAA Reauthorization Act would require the FAA to analyze the economic impact of proposed regulations on the economy, private markets, productivity, employment and competitiveness.
The National Space Policy: President Obama’s June 2010 National Space Policy puts a strong emphasis on the use of commercial space capabilities and international cooperation to meet U.S. Government mission requirements. This will give U.S. commercial companies the opportunity to provide new services to the government, such as transportation of cargo to the International Space Station as well as human transport for exploration. The Administration has recently initiated a review of related sectoral policies on space transportation, satellite remote sensing and space-based positioning, navigation, and timing (GPS). The review is intended to ensure that those policies reflect the National Space Policy’s objectives, such as industry competitiveness and increased international cooperation.
National Aeronautics Research & Development (R&D) Policy: This policy guides federal aeronautical R&D activities to promote long-term sustainable research on advanced aircraft systems and air transportation management systems and infrastructure. The policy aims to foster a vibrant and dynamic R&D community that includes government, industry and academia.
Department of Defense (DOD) Acquisition Reform: The DOD is working to create a more streamlined and efficient acquisition process that involves broader use of multi-year procurements, stable government funding for programs, and greater attention to contract management.
Export Control Reform: The Administration and Congress are working to develop a more predictable, efficient and transparent technology control regime that will create a single control list, a single primary enforcement coordination agency, a single information technology system, and a single licensing agency. These reforms will help facilitate exports of U.S.-based aerospace manufacturers.
Success StoriesIn February 2011, the Pentagon awarded Boeing a $35 billion contract to build 179 aerial refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force. Boeing was selected over Airbus manufacturer European Aeronautic Defense and Space (EADS). The contract will support an estimated 50,000 jobs in Washington State.
In February 2011, Embraer opened an assembly facility in Melbourne FL to produce Embraer Phenom jets. The facility will bring 200 jobs to the community.
In September 2010, France’s Safran and the UK’s BAE Systems, announced a $1.09 billion deal to purchase Connecticut-based security firm L-1 Identity Solutions, which provides biometric security products. The deal is pending approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).