AIAC comments on Official Opposition's fundamental lack of understanding of the importance of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program to the Canadian Aerospace industry

OTTAWA, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) today deplored a fundamental lack of understanding of the strategic importance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program to the Canadian Aerospace Industry as demonstrated in television ads posted on the Web this morning. 

"The Government of Canada has participated in the JSF initiative for almost 15 years and an acquisition decision to acquire 65 aircraft to replace our aging CF-18 fleet was finally made earlier this year.  Moreover, many of our members are now pursuing JSF contract opportunities with the determination and confidence that defines our industry," said Dr. Claude Lajeunesse, CEO of the AIAC.  "And the doubt and dithering signals that internal political debates send to the world will only result in the loss of opportunities and much needed high-skill, high-value added and long-term jobs for Canadians from coast to coast."  

As a member of the nine-nation partnership, Canada has access to an unprecedented commercial opportunity on the JSF program.  The next 24 months  are  critical as Canadian aerospace companies compete for and secure substantive contracts on the supply-chain both as first and second sources, as well as on the sustainment of the F-35 which represents billions of dollars in contracts opportunities to serve the global JSF fleet estimated to eventually exceed 3,500 aircraft.

"As several CEOs noted last September, the current climate of instability that clouds this procurement decision is harmful for investments, harmful for the industry and harmful for the creation of high-value added jobs across Canada" added Dr. Lajeunesse.  "The support of Canadians and elected officials is a factor which will either contribute to - or detract from - the optimization of the benefits that the JSF program will bring to Canadian aerospace workers and their communities", concluded Dr. Lajeunesse.  

The AIAC is the national association representing Canada's aerospace manufacturing and services sector. As the world's fifth largest aerospace industry, Canada's aerospace sector generated over $22 billion and employed nearly 80,000 Canadians in 2009 and more than 150,000 including indirect and induced employment. Seventy-eight per cent of Canadian aerospace products were exported. AIAC represents the interests of 400 aerospace companies across Canada.

SOURCE Aerospace Industries Association of Canada

For further information:

Maryse Harvey,Vice-President Public Affairs, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, 613-760-4562, mharvey@aiac.ca

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