AIA: Another Banner Year for Industry, 2013 Looks Good Without Sequestration

Marion Blakey (AIA Photo)

The Aerospace Industries Association released its year end report Dec 5, detailing projected sales for the industry in 2012 and expectations for 2013.  The news for both years: overall sales up with defense down

Overall industry sales were projected to be up 3.4 in 2012 compared to 2011, with a total of $217.9 billion for the current year.  2013 is estimated to reach $223.6 billion, another 2.6 percent climb.

But the rise in 2013 is predicated upon sequestration being averted, and even the positive numbers overall show slowing in the defense segment of the industry.  Sales of missiles and military aircraft dropped from a combined total of $83.1 billion in 2011 to an projected $81.3 billion in 2012, a 2.2 percent decline, with sales expected to drop to $78.6 in 2013, another 3.3 percent drop.

The positive numbers overall are being buoyed by a phenomenal year for civil aircraft, with sales up 13.9 percent in 2012 to $60.6 billion, and estimates of another 11.4 percent climb in 2013.

At the annual AIA year-end lunch on Wednesday, association CEO Marion Blakey chose not to follow tradition by detailing the numbers in the report, and instead talked about the fiscal cliff, repeating industry concerns about job losses and national security threats.

Asked by a reporter after her speech if the positive overall numbers undermined the organizations descriptions of the dire consequences of sequestration, Blakey emphasized that the numbers in civil aircraft do not counter the larger threat to defense.

“I wish I could say that there was such offsetting information, that we should not be as worried as we clearly are, because this has not gotten through yet, and at this point we’re all in a fog of uncertainty,” she said.

However, Blakey acknowledged the critical role civil aircraft sales are playing in supporting the industry.

“If you look at the numbers what you do see is that industry is very much strengthened by the civil aircraft market,” she said.  “It’s a remarkable thing, and it’s one of the great resiliencies that we have, in much of the industry you have the ability to have commercial offsetting military.  When times at times tighten up for one sector or the other, and that’s what we’re seeing right now.”

Zachary Fryer-Biggs
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Zachary Fryer-Biggs

Senior Staff Writer at Defense News
Zach is the State Department correspondent, cyberwarfare, research & development and business reporter for Defense News.
Zachary Fryer-Biggs
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