Another Year Of Record Sales Despite Sagging Economy
With another solid financial performance in 2010, the aerospace
industry has again demonstrated its vital importance to the U.S.
That was the assessment of AIA CEO President and CEO Marion C.
Blakey in remarks to more than 300 members of the news media,
government and industry at the association's 46th annual Year-end
Review and Forecast Luncheon.
"Aerospace has produced solid results, including a new sales
record for the seventh straight year, leading all manufacturers in
trade surplus and providing a sense of stability amidst the chaos
of economic upheaval," said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey.
She cited a preliminary total aerospace sales figure of $216.5
Aerospace orders made a strong bounce back into positive
territory, increasing 20 percent over 2009. "While still off from
our high in 2007," Blakey said, "this increase hopefully marks the
bottoming-out of the recent decline in orders."
Space sales have remained largely static this year. With minimal
growth projected for the NASA budget through 2015, opportunities
for more substantial growth will likely come from international
customers. Developing a more diverse customer base will help the
U.S. maintain a strong industrial base, as well as strengthen
relationships with strategic partners, Blakey noted.
Rising imports and falling exports led to a five percent drop in
the industry's trade balance, but the surplus of $53.3 billion is
still the strongest of any manufacturing industry. Employment
declined for the second straight year, but at a much slower rate
than initially projected. Losing jobs is never good," said Blakey,
"but when viewed in the context of the overall business
environment, our workforce is holding its own."
"Job retention and growth is on everyone's mind these days,"
Blakey added. "This is why AIA and our member companies continue to
impress on Congress and the administration the need to invest in
the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Improvements to
transportation infrastructure benefit a wide swath of American
life, from business and tourism to law enforcement, crisis
response, freight shipment and family cohesion."
Expressing concern about the headwinds created by pressure to
trim the nation's deficit, Blakey said that the severe cuts in
defense advocated by some of the various deficit-elimination study
groups are dangerous. "The United States' security relies on
maintaining our defense technological advantage. Additionally, if
we don't sustain the investment in the industrial base,
opportunities for good jobs will dwindle," said Blakey. "These men
and women support more than two million middle-class jobs across
all 50 states, and are the muscle – and heart – of the