"As the Canadian Aerospace Industry has slipped to the 5th position
worldwide, it's time to get our act together"
Claude Lajeunesse, President and CEO of AIAC
OTTAWA, Oct. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Mr. Claude Lajeunesse, president and chief executive officer of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) had stern words for stakeholders from the Canadian aerospace industry attending the 48th edition of Annual General Meeting and Conference, and sent them a powerful call to action and to collaboration in order to better compete and benefit from the phenomenal opportunities awaiting the industry's future.
Mr. Lajeunesse revealed exhaustive results from a recent AeroStrategy study commissioned by AIAC and Industry Canada on the impact of Globalization on Canada.
"Today, Canada is absent from the top 10 countries in the world for investment in Aerospace R&D, manufacturing, and MRO. Canada has not sufficiently taken advantage of the 'investment boom' of the past 20 years. Based on research of 121 leading aerospace suppliers, fewer than five investments per year was the norm among the sample group in the early '90s. By 2008, it was 63 per year! The most popular destinations for engineering centres are Russia, the United States, India, and Singapore. In manufacturing, OEMs are dispersing labour-intensive activities to 'low-cost poles' the most popular destinations being Mexico, China, the United States, and Russia. In comparison, Canada, a knowledge-industry country, has attracted few R&D centres from non-Canadian firms", declared Mr. Lajeunesse.
"While we have taken justified pride in being 4th in the world, we have now officially slipped to the 5th position. Other nations are aggressively pursuing our market shares and clearly, maintaining our current level of investments will not be enough to guarantee our status as world leader."
Far from delivering a defeatist address, Mr. Lajeunesse showed optimism when looking at the many future opportunities the Canadian aerospace industry can seize, and reaffirmed his faith in the sector's remarkable capacity to innovate and strong workforce.
"The opportunities before us are phenomenal. According to Boeing and Airbus forecasts, assuming an annual increase in passenger traffic of 4.9% and 5.4% for freight, corresponding to an average annual growth of 3.1% of the global economy, the world will require between 25,000 and 29,000 new aircraft at a cost of over 3 trillion $ in the next 20 years. This estimate does not take into account defence procurement, MRO and space opportunities. Canada has the track record and the capacity to reap these opportunities, if we make the right decisions today", added Mr. Lajeunesse.
"Let us unite once again under the umbrella of the Canadian Aerospace Partnership to develop a national strategy that will allow the industry to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities of the next 20 - 30 years and ensure we move back to 4th and even 3rd position. Let us set a goal of doubling our sales by 2020. Let us, TOGETHER, give ourselves the means of our ambitions."
"We cannot afford to play 'at the margins'. Other countries have invested massively in creating an industry of their own. My message today is a call for action. A call for all players: industry, government, and all other partners. If the Canadian aerospace industry of the future is to meet the expectations we all have, then each and every one of us has a role to play", he concluded.
The AIAC is the national trade association representing Canada's aerospace manufacturing and services sectors. With a revenue of $ 23,6 billion - it is the fifth largest aerospace industry in the world, employing more than 80,000 Canadians and exporting 82 per cent of its production. The organization represents the interests of 400 companies in all regions of the country.
SOURCE Aerospace Industries Association of Canada
For further information: For further information: Maryse Harvey, Vice President Public Affairs, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, (613) 760-4562, firstname.lastname@example.org