is recognized in Ottawa, which supports the
aerospace sector through special programs–and as
a matter of national policy.
“The new defence policy has a very aggressive
procurement plan on the air side,” Quick says.
“Defence procurement is a big deal. And there’s the
government’s new Innovation Agenda. Our industry
turns on innovation. We’re the top innovators in
In June AIAC, together with Innovation, Science
and Economic Development Canada (ISED),
released the “2017 State of Canada’s Aerospace
Industry” report. The report found that aerospace
is the most innovative sector in all of Canadian
manufacturing, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of
all manufacturing R&D investment in 2016 (in 2015
the sector’s total R&D expenditure was $1.9 billion).
“Canadian aerospace manufacturers develop
new technologies at twice the rate of the
Canadian manufacturing average, and they recruit
significantly more employees for innovation-related roles,” the report said.
The government seems to be prepared to back
innovation in a big way. Ottawa’s new Innovation
Agenda will invest $950 million over five years to
develop “super clusters,” technology business hubs
to attract innovative companies from around the
Aerospace | COVER STORY | 19
Jim Quick, president of the
Aerospace Industries Association of
Canada (AIAC) points to 20-year
market forecasts released by aircraft
manufacturers Airbus SAS and Boeing
Co. last July at the opening of the
Farnborough Airshow in the U.K.
While the forecasts differed slightly,
they were both definitely upbeat.
Airbus foresees a need for more than
33,000 new commercial aircraft with
more than 100 seats by 2035–an
expenditure of US$5.2 trillion that
will more than double the size of
the global fleet from what it is today.
Boeing predicts a need for more than
39,000 new aircraft–a US $5.9 trillion
expenditure–though its forecast does
include smaller regional jets.
Quick points out that some segments
of the aerospace market, such as
helicopters and business jets, aren’t
as dynamic right now as commercial
airliners. But despite the dominance
of Bombardier Inc., whose presence
alone puts Canada in the top ranks of
aerospace nations, Canada’s aerospace
sector is advanced and diversified
enough to more than weather any
softness in particular segments.
“Maintenance, repair and overhaul–
MRO–continues to grow,” Quick says.
“It’s now 30 per cent of the Canadian
aerospace industry. And our supply
chain exports have grown by about 20
per cent over the last 15 years. We don’t
build aircraft and parts for aircraft for
Canada; we export 80 per cent of what
we make here, and 60 per cent of that
goes directly into the global aerospace
Canada’s aerospace sector is one of
the country’s key economic drivers.
It contributed $28 billion to Canada’s
GDP in 2016, supporting 208,000 jobs.
And the importance of the industry
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