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On Final: Fuelling a western revival

With $1 million of a $5-million, five-year commitment by the provincial government to help develop the B.C. aerospace industry already secured, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada’s (AIAC) new Pacific Division is working hard to ensure B.C.’s aerospace innovators and leaders keep their competitive edge.


July 7, 2014
By Jim Quick

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With $1 million of a $5-million, five-year commitment by the provincial government to help develop the B.C. aerospace industry already secured, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada’s (AIAC) new Pacific Division is working hard to ensure B.C.’s aerospace innovators and leaders keep their competitive edge.

aerospace industry  
The aerospace industry generates $1.2 billion in revenues annually and employs more than 10,000 British Columbians. Photo: aiac


 

We have the capability and the training that is needed in B.C. to maintain our advantage, but we can’t take anything for granted in this extremely competitive global marketplace. We need to take some next steps to ensure our aerospace companies remain world class.

The April 8 funding announcement at Victoria International Airport in Sidney, home of Viking Air, builder of the legendary Twin Otter airplane, is one of those next steps.

The funding is great news for the aerospace sector in Western Canada. It will help provide long-needed support to develop the aerospace industry in B.C. Asia Pacific is a key market for Canada’s aerospace industry, and companies located on the west coast are perfectly situated to take advantage of this opportunity, which is made even greater by the B.C. government’s contribution.

With a diverse range of companies that are proven aerospace innovators and technology leaders in B.C., the industry generates $1.2 billion in revenues annually and employs more than 10,000 British Columbians. Simply put, aerospace is one of the best job creators in B.C.

Given its proximity to Boeing’s final assembly and integration of production lines in Seattle, B.C. also serves as a major hub for the Pacific Northwest and Canada’s aerospace sectors. It is recognized as a preferred gateway for the aerospace industry to Asia Pacific.

Expanding B.C.’s aerospace industry into new markets, such as Asia, is key to B.C.’s future.

Almost half of the world’s air-traffic growth will be connected to or within the Asia Pacific region in the next 20 years. At the same time global aircraft sales, for both fleet growth and replacement of aging aircraft, will total 35,000 units for a value of more than $4.8 trillion.

B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said that in forging the relationship with Canada’s national aerospace industry (AIAC), the B.C. project is designed “to solidify, coordinate, amplify and expand our efforts.”

During the implementation of the project, AIAC Pacific’s efforts will be aligned with the work AIAC is doing at the national level to promote the competitiveness of the Canadian aerospace industry. AIAC has worked closely with the federal government to implement key initiatives that will improve the competitiveness of Canadian aerospace companies domestically and around the world.

Over the next five years, AIAC Pacific is responsible for developing a more unified aerospace industry in B.C. and helping attract more investment from global firms.

AIAC Pacific will work with the provincial government to access B.C.’s fair share of federal program, procurement and research funding. It will leverage provincial training programs and opportunities to strengthen the advanced manufacturing skills base.

AIAC Pacific will lead the way in developing a globally competitive supply chain to expand access to global markets and will work on improving the B.C. aerospace industry’s research and development capabilities. It also plans to increase collaboration among B.C. aerospace industry partners, and enhance market access and expand international trade opportunities.

The Pacific region’s growth will accelerate and we will prosper with a truly pan-Canadian aerospace industry. Workers, taxpayers and the economy in B.C. will all benefit from the provincial government’s investment in our industry.

The key people, assets, ideas and opportunities that are brought together at this event will help grow our local, regional and national economies and stimulate a thriving aerospace industry in Canada and the rest of the world.

By taking clear steps to act on the many opportunities facing this important industry, the AIAC Pacific partnership with the provincial government sends a clear signal to entrepreneurial B.C. companies and the next generation of innovators: B.C. is a great place to do business in the aerospace sector.


Jim-Quick  
   

Jim Quick is the President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC).