Aerospace Growth Gets Turbocharged

The 2017 outlook finds global aerospace and defense industry revenues expected to surge to two percent growth, driven by higher defense spending.

By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2017 Issue

The global aerospace and defense (A&D) sector is likely to experience stronger growth in 2017. Following multiple years of positive, but subdued rate of growth, the report forecasts the sector revenues will likely grow by about two percent in 2017, according to Deloitte. The global A&D sector revenue rebound is attributed to a number of factors in both the commercial aerospace sub-sector and the defense sub-sector. Key findings are as follows:

Stable global gross domestic product (GDP) growth; relatively lower commodity prices, including crude oil; and strong passenger travel demand, especially in the Middle East and Asia Pacific region, will likely drive the commercial aerospace sub-sector growth.

aerospaceSeveral years of above average order intake has resulted in commercial aircraft backlog being at an all-time high of 13,500 aircraft units. This represents more than nine and a half years of current annual production. Specifically, strong demand for next-generation aircraft, growing airline passenger traffic and improved global airline profits, primarily on account of lower fuel costs, will likely drive increased large commercial aircraft production and in turn commercial aerospace revenues in 2017 and 2018.

Passenger and freight traffic are likely to grow at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 4.8 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively, over the next 20 years, contributing to higher aircraft production. Travel demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) has been increasing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7 percent over the last 10 years, with passenger enplanements rising from slightly over 2 billion to more than 3.5 billion annually during this period.

Major aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, have indicated production rate increases will occur in 2017 and 2018. Airbus’ A320neo is likely to ramp up production in 2017, whereas, Boeing estimates that the production rate of its 737 will rise from the current 42 per month to 47 per month in 2017 and 52 per month in 2018.

It is expected that about 96 more aircraft will be produced in 2017 compared to 2016. However, despite the expected increase, continued pricing pressure and product mix changes by airline operators will likely result in only a marginal increase of 0.3 percent in commercial aerospace sub-sector revenues.

On the defense side, the resurgence of global security threats, expected increases in U.S. defense budgets, as well as higher defense spending from other major regional powers such as Japan and India will likely promote global defense sub-sector revenue growth in the near future. Deloitte sees an upside for U.S. defense expenditures, given the outcome of the recently concluded U.S. elections.

[The Deloitte forecast was released before President Trump proposed a $54-billion increase in defense spending]. In addition to boosting the number of troops, the U.S. military will likely add more aircraft and ships, which will drive revenue growth at large defense primes over the next few years.

Defense sub-sector revenues are likely to grow at a much faster 3.2 percent in 2017 as defense spending in the U.S. has returned to growth, after multi-year declines in defense budgets. Future growth may be driven by the newly elected U.S. administration’s increased focus on strengthening the U.S. Military.

Rising global tensions in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North Korea and the East and South China Seas has led to international demand for defense and military products. This is in turn resulting in increased defense spending globally, especially, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan, India, China and Russia—many of these countries have already started to increase purchases of next generation military equipment.


Are you reading this story on a mobile device? Have you checked tomorrow’s weather or recently navigated to a meeting using your cell phone? Odds are you used a satellite launched from Florida to get that information.

Space Florida officials unveil rendering of OneWeb’s 100,000-square-foot facility to build satellites on a site near the Kennedy Space Center, an $85-million project that will create 250 high-tech jobs. (Photo: Enterprise Florida)

For more than 65 years, when people talk rocket science, they’re talking about Florida. Aerospace activity continues to grow across the state and the industry has changed greatly since Space Shuttle Atlantis returned from its final orbit in July 2011.

Cape Canaveral and Florida’s Space Coast are as active as ever, with government and private companies building, assembling and lifting off from several historic launch pads. So far this year, both the United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX have successfully launched from Florida.

Nearly 25 launches are planned through the end of 2017, including missions from the U.S. Navy, Orbital ATK, and more launches of ULA’s Atlas and Delta vehicles, as well as the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.

Frank DiBello, the president and CEO of Space Florida, the state agency dedicated to strengthening the state’s position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce, has watched the industry’s exponential growth.

“Our state’s iconic space legacy is ever-expanding, and commercial companies play a key role in both the aerospace and satellite industry here in Florida,” said DiBello. “I look forward to the innovation and future of the industry, further solidifying Florida’s role as a world leader in aerospace and as a global spaceport.”

Last spring, DiBello and Space Florida were there when OneWeb, a global communications network company, announced it will build a 100,000-square-foot satellite manufacturing facility just south of Kennedy Space Center. The project will create 250 high-tech manufacturing and engineering jobs and an $85 million investment.

OneWeb will design, build and launch an extensive network of small, low earth orbit satellites that will enable the delivery of low-cost Internet services worldwide. These micro satellites will be mass produced at the Space Coast facility utilizing fewer components, thus making them lighter and easier to launch.

OneWeb CEO Brian Holz said, “Florida is an excellent location for our high-volume satellite manufacturing facility. The State of Florida and Space Florida really understood our business needs and gave us an outstanding offer to locate in Exploration Park. Our high-volume satellite production uses many of the same technologies as aircraft production and Florida has become a center of excellence for both aviation and space related technologies. We will leverage much of the local aerospace capability expanding opportunity in the Space Coast region, and we also anticipate many of our suppliers to co-locate operations near our facility.”

While Cape Canaveral holds the history of spaceflight, the aerospace industry has grown statewide.

In mid-February, GKN Aerospace announced they will open their first Florida location. The company will locate a new manufacturing facility in Bay County, creating 170 jobs and investing more than $50 million.

GKN Aerospace uses advanced manufacturing technologies to supply high-value, integrated assemblies in both metallic and composite materials to the aviation industry. The company is one of the world’s largest suppliers to the international aviation industry.

Mike Grunza, CEO of GKN Aerospace’s Aerostructures North America business said, “This investment emphasizes our commitment to manufacturing in North America, as this new world-class facility will create jobs and strengthen our competitive position in the U.S. aerospace market for the future. The excellent support we have received from Bay County EDA, Gov. Rick Scott’s office, higher educational partners and The St. Joe Company made Florida an ideal location for GKN.”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (standing) and Gov. Rick Scott announcing the new Blue Origin rocket plant on FL’s Space Coast. (Photo: Enterprise Florida)

Back on the Space Coast, work is well underway at Blue Origin’s 750,000-square-foot New Glenn rocket-building facility. Blue Origin selected Florida for its Orbital Launch Vehicle manufacturing, launch and support facilities. The project will create 330 jobs and a capital investment of $200 million.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin said, “Cape Canaveral has long been a gateway to humankind’s greatest adventures. Our new home—Complex 36—has seen 43 years of service and 145 launches, including the Mariner missions, Pioneer 10 and Surveyor 1—the first U.S. spacecraft to land softly on the moon. This historic pad hasn’t seen a rocket launch in more than 10 years—too long—we can’t wait to fix that.”

In addition to ULA, SpaceX, Orbital ATK, OneWeb, GKN and Blue Origin, global industry leaders like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Safran and Thales all have operations across Florida.

From the Panhandle to the Keys, aerospace companies are finding the business advantages they need to succeed in Florida. The state ranks as the #2 state in the nation for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and has more than 85,000 employees in the aerospace/aviation sector.

Most states will promise your business the moon. Florida can actually deliver it. To learn more about how Florida can help your aerospace business, visit us online.


Located at the apex of the greater Tampa Bay Region and a mere two-hour drive from Florida’s Space Coast, Pasco County is emerging as a location that those in the aviation and aerospace industry should cast their gaze toward.

Not only will businesses reap the benefits of locating amid Florida’s robust, existing aerospace industry and favorable business climate—low regulatory requirements, low business taxes and no state income tax—those choosing Pasco County will also find a forward-thinking community investing in smart planning, quality developments and the preparation of the next-generation workforce from elementary school-level through high school and college.

TRU Simulation + Training’s 84,300-square-foot Pasco County facility includes business and military simulator manufacturing as well as a FAA-certified Part 142 OEM-supported Pilot Training Center. (Photo: TRU Simulation + Training/Textron)

Launched in 2014, Pasco County Schools’ Aviation/Aerospace Academies provide a progressive, project-based curriculum that fosters student interest in aviation-based STEM programs which follows them throughout their educational experience. Elementary students’ introduction to the industry begins with entry-level flight simulation, small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and programmed developmental aviation software, while middle school students progress to advanced principles of aeronautical science, higher-fidelity flight simulators and enhanced sUAS. By the time they reach high school, students have the ability to participate in a dual and concurrent enrollment program provided in collaboration with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)/Gaetz Aerospace Institute (GAI). This program offers an array of accelerated ERAU courses with college credit opportunities and, in some cases, the ability to obtain industry certification by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) by the time they are ready for graduation.

Employers seeking to locate in Pasco County will find a highly-skilled existing workforce to draw from as well. Over 350 non-governmental companies operating in, or supporting the Aviation/Aerospace Industry, currently operate in the region, employing over 15,000 people. And, located just 45 minutes from Pasco County, MacDill Air Force Base employs approximately 15,000 military personnel and 2,800 civilians with an additional 73,000 retirees and spouses living within the region giving Pasco County companies ready-access to a high-quality, veteran workforce.

Local companies such as Pall Aeropower Corporation and Turin Aviation Group are enjoying the benefits that come with locating in Pasco County, including competitive property tax and telecom rates as well as stable average wages and quality housing which meet employee expectations.

In early February 2017, TRU Simulation + Training, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, cut the ribbon on its latest expansion—30,000 square feet designed to accommodate four new full-flight simulators, adding to the three existing simulators in its fleet, plus training classrooms, study areas and flight training devices for its ProFlight® Pilot Training Programs. TRU Simulation + Training’s Pasco facility specializes in business and military simulator manufacturing as well as serving as an FAA-certified Part 142 OEM-supported Pilot Training Center for several Textron Aviation products. Having access to a major international airport within a half-hour drive of the facility, Tampa International Airport, without incurring a premium price for the space to grow was a contributing factor in the company choosing to expand operations at the facility.

While Pasco County is part of one of the top 10 fastest growing MSAs in the United States, the county still retains a unique blend of undeveloped, open spaces that provide the right terrain for aviation/aerospace companies near modern, vibrant communities that employees will enjoy calling home. And, both company and employees will enjoy the favorable weather that Florida has been long known for.

In 2015, the Pasco Economic Development Council partnered with Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program to evaluate a 442-acre site at the Zephyrhills Airport Industrial Park. McCallum Sweeney Consulting reviewed the completed RFI and presented their report with recommendations, which found the site was an ideal location for aerospace and light industrial/assembly. Easy transport for goods produced at the site can be accessed via a CSX rail line adjacent to the property’s western boundary. The property, located within the Foreign Trade Zone 193 service area, also is accessible by State Road 54 and is located only 13 miles from Interstate 75, 20 miles from Interstate 4 and 14 miles from Port Tampa Bay. The port recently added two Post Panamax cranes to its cargo container operations and provides in ideal springboard for transporting goods to South American, Latin American and Caribbean markets.

Companies seeking to locate or expand their business in Florida or the Southeast Region of the U.S. would do well to give Pasco County a look. It is an attractive location that is ideal for companies looking to establish themselves over the long term. It is truly a place where business opportunities can take flight.

Find out more about how locating in Pasco County can help your company reach new heights by contacting the Pasco Economic Development Council at or (888) 60-PASCO.


Greater Fort Lauderdale’s aviation industry is a multibillion-dollar sector, including airlines, airframe and engine manufacturers; component parts suppliers; maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities; and allied industries, such as banking and insurance.

Its hub is Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), which has an annual economic impact of more than $13.2 billion. Other facilities include Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), the John Fuhrer Downtown Helistop and North Perry Airport.

“South Florida is a hotbed of aviation activity, with more than 46,000 workers across the region—a talent pool that is steadily increasing, thanks to the region’s aviation and aerospace education and training programs,” said Bob Swindell, President and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the area’s official economic development partnership.

A 2015 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers ranked Florida first in the nation as the best state for aerospace companies. Lower taxes, moderate operating costs and a large number of educational institutions were key factors in the state’s second annual No. 1 ranking.

More recently, FDI Strategy named Greater Fort Lauderdale to its list of “Aerospace Cities of the Future 2016/17.” The article noted that Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport provides an infrastructure that facilitates the development of aviation businesses. The general aviation airport area houses more than 150 aviation sector companies and employs more than 5,000 people. The airport itself is equipped with 447 hangars and an industrial airpark, providing office, warehouse and industrial space.

Investment incentives include a qualified target industry refund, and a foreign trade zone, which offers incentives to encourage business development. “The airport management committee runs an annual internship program to local aerospace and aviation students, which produces experienced graduates for potential investors,” said the article.

The Miami Maintenance Management Council (MMMC) recently changed its name to the South Florida Aviation Maintenance Council (SFAMC), and merged with the Miramar Aviation Consortium. “Our name change and merger exemplifies the growth of the organization as well as the aviation industry in the region,” said Kim L. Merced, president of the SFAMC. “In South Florida, numerous large and small aviation MRO companies, as well as auxiliary and support companies, are based in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.”

The Alliance works closely with the SFAMC to build the aviation industry in Greater Fort Lauderdale and across South Florida. SFAMC will unite the aviation maintenance community regionally in order to support, encourage, educate and promote the significant base of maintenance operations in the area.

Many companies in the aviation sector also are investing in Greater Fort Lauderdale:

  • GA Telesis Composite Repair Group, LLC has more than tripled since 2012. Now one of the world’s largest commercial aerospace firms, the Fort Lauderdale company has more than $1 billion in assets currently under management in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Finland and China.
  • Heico Corporation, a Hollywood-based parts supplier is the largest aerospace company by revenue in Broward County. Its flight support and electronic technologies groups have acquired a number of aviation-related businesses around the world in recent years.
  • Brazil’s Embraer, one of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers, added a new maintenance and overhaul facility to its North American headquarters, customer service and support complex in Fort Lauderdale to serve the executive jet and commercial jet sectors.
  • GE Aviation moved to a larger facility in Pompano Beach to develop, test and manufacture advanced electrical power conversion products.
  • Turbine Controls, Inc. (TCI) has expanded its aircraft engine component maintenance facility in Miramar.
  • 1st Choice Aerospace in Miramar recently expanded and added 40 new jobs. The company repairs aircraft components, including crew seats and fuel systems.
  • Private Jet Charter, one of the world’s largest independent private jet charter brokers and consultants, launched its North America expansion plan by establishing its regional office in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Kellstrom Defense Aerospace added 20 employees to its Miramar facility.
  • Lufthansa Technik Component Services expanded its aircraft MRO operation in Miramar, adding 24 jobs.
  • CTS Jet Engines has a 60,000-square-foot engine service center in Fort Lauderdale and utilizes a complete set of in-house machinery and tooling to provide full-service MRO support.
  • JetSmarter, which offers luxury travel through flight booking for the private aviation industry, recently expanded its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale.

Broward College is a leader in providing education and training options for the aviation/aerospace industry in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The college recently announced a new Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Sciences for students seeking to study pilot and aviation management. Established in 1966, the Broward College Aviation Institute is the only public facility in Broward County dedicated to the training of aviation professionals. The College recently opened its new Aviation Annex, a 13,500-square-foot facility, which houses four classrooms, faculty offices and shop space at North Perry Airport.


Composites were once considered “space age” materials, only to be used by NASA or the military. Today’s versatile composites are used in many applications in our everyday lives, saving us money and energy. Composites also can improve safety, such as in aerospace and construction applications. And components and products made out of composite materials are impervious to corrosion and weather resistant, extending their life.

The manufacturing of composites does require some specialized skills and training. The New England hub of composites manufacturing is in Rochester, NH, and attracting and training skilled composites engineers and technicians is the specialty of Great Bay Community College’s ATAC (Advanced Technology and Academic Center). Short and medium-length programs turn out specialists in non-destructive testing, composites manufacturing, resin injection, CNC machining and other advanced specialty certifications. These trained professionals are hired by the multitude of advanced materials and composite manufacturers in the community, such as Safran Aerospace Composites, Albany Engineered Composites and Spaulding Composites. The demand for composite experience is high, and local firms have access to the program graduates immediately.

Safran, Albany and Spaulding also work closely with the Regional Richard W. Creteau Technology Center for high school students in Rochester, which is about to undergo a $24 million renovation. In addition to IT and trades careers, Rochester’s Creteau Tech Center has developed internship programs for students, male and female, who show aptitude in STEM sciences, math or robotics. A particular focus is on attracting young women into the profession’s pathway, as these composites positions often pay significantly more than entry level positions in typical female-dominated roles in service or retail industries.

Aerospace composites are important in Rochester, but so are medical device applications and construction materials manufacturing. Expansion of composites in manufacturing at all levels is happening, and the city has just acquired another 47-acre addition to the Granite State Business Park—Rochester’s newest and largest industrial park. Manufacturers here have access to live rail, an airport, natural gas, redundant power and broadband, with key infrastructure, such as municipal water and sewer, already in place. This premier park is on the public transit route and offers direct access to a state highway, making it easy for employees, vendors, suppliers and executives to interact with this high quality location. Discover more information about available lots at

Rochester composites manufacturers include:

  • Albany International, Albany Engineered Composites
  • Safran USA, Safran Aerospace Composites
  • Spaulding Composites
  • Lydall Performance Materials
  • Continental Contitech

For over 20 years, Rochester, NH recognized the importance of composites and actively is supportive of the firms with this technological focus, seeing the relevant use across industry and sectors. The American Composites Manufacturing Association was one of the sponsors of a two-day workshop for composites industry experts from the full spectrum of manufacturers. “The composites industry needs to promote itself and benefits to the general public,” said Rob Klawonn, president of Toho Tenax America Inc. “Government agencies and existing composites users and their suppliers understand the strategic importance of composite materials, but the average consumer is lacking a fundamental recognition of composites as a material or family of materials that benefit them.” Some of the key ways they identified composites will expand in manufacturing include reduced raw materials costs, recycling of composites, education of engineers and development of global supply chains.

Rochester, NH plans to capture some of the coming wave of composites growth by participating in CAMX—The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo along with their manufacturing and education partners. The goal is to keep up with rapid changes in the composites industry and new applications that are being discovered every day. Bringing attention of composites manufacturers to the assets and education Rochester already has in place is a priority activity, and one that will be achieved by networking at the sessions and in the exhibit halls.

The City of Rochester, NH, is perfectly positioned one hour north of Boston and has critical access to supply chains to supporting growth in the composites industry. Well established employee training programs along with a growing network of vendors and suppliers in composites and advanced textiles makes this region a powerhouse in the competition for new investment and expansion.


Utah has consistently won “Best State for Business” rankings from Forbes, CNBC, 24/7 Wall Street and other thought leaders, but what is behind those accolades? The story of Utah’s business environment is one of predictability, consistency and long-term growth. Here are some factors to consider when you are locating or expanding an aerospace/defense or composites business.

  1. Tax Climate – Utah is no. 9 on a ranking from the Tax Foundation designed to show how well states structure their tax systems. The state’s corporate income tax rate of 5 percent puts it at no. 8 nationally on that individual metric.
  2. Hachman Index – This index quantifies the economic diversity of a state. The closer to 100, the more diverse (and therefore more resilient) the state’s economy. Utah scores 97.9 or no. 1 in the nation, edging out Georgia and North Carolina.
  3. Median Age – Utah has your workforce of today and tomorrow. At 30.7 years, Utah’s median age makes it the youngest state in the country. Utah strives to align education and industry. Programs like the Utah Aerospace Pathways train high school students so they can graduate with a certificate in aerospace manufacturing.
  4. Educated Workforce – And speaking of education, Utah ranks no. 14 in the nation in terms of the percentage of the population 25 years or older with a bachelor’s degree or higher. It is no. 12 when it comes to high school diplomas or higher. There are 11 higher education and technical institutions offering specialized programs in Aerospace and Composites. Utah State University has put more experiments into flight on shuttle and satellite missions than any other institution in the country. Additionally, USTAR—the state’s science, technology and research initiative—has opened an Innovation Center to support aerospace industry growth.
  5. Labor Costs – Labor costs are often the greatest expense to a business, and with Utah’s affordable yet highly educated and talented labor, it is the perfect place to find quality workers at a reasonable price. Utah ranks no. 5 among western states.
  6. Operation Costs – Utah has better than average operation costs ranking no. 2 most competitive among the western states. This rank includes real estate costs, electricity, natural gas, construction and other costs. For example, Utah ranks no. 13 in the country for both Industrial Construction dollars per square foot ($106.16/sf) and Commercial Construction ($144.78/sf).
  7. Abundant Workforce – Utah has high employee concentrations of aerospace engineers, materials scientists, machine operators and other aerospace related occupations. More than 40,000 employees work at 900-plus firms in Aerospace and Defense, and Composites-related fields.
  8. Worker’s Compensation – At no. 7, Utah’s average worker’s compensation premium ($1.31 per $100 of wages) is among the nation’s lowest.
  9. Transportation Infrastructure – The “Crossroads of the West” has considerable and convenient rail, highway and air infrastructure. In 2015, Salt Lake City International Airport (located a mere 10 minutes from downtown) offered 315 daily departures to 90 nonstop destinations, and finished fifth among mid-sized airports globally in on-time performance. When traveling on business, you spend less time in transit and on the tarmac, and more time on productive pursuits.
  10. Broadband Infrastructure – Utah is wired! The average connection speed (Mbps) statewide is 19.69, ranking it the fourth fastest in the country and no. 1 west of the Appalachians.
  11. Plentiful Testing and Training Resources – Utah is home to Hill Air Force Base (HAFB), Utah Testing & Training Range (UTTR), Utah Unmanned Aerial Systems Testing Center (UASUtah) and Rapid Integration and Testing Center. The UTTR is the largest overland contiguous block of supersonic authorized restricted airspace in the lower 48 states, and both HAFB and UTTR are located within 80 miles of Salt Lake City. UASUtah provides a testing and training ground for both public and private UAS operations, and is located 30 miles west of Brigham City. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project office operates its Rapid Integration and Acceptance Center (RIAC) at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground, located 85 miles from Salt Lake City. The center is open to military agencies in need of testing UAS technologies.
  12. Look who has landed here – In Utah you’re in good company. Industry leaders with operations here include Boeing, Janicki, Albany, BAE, General Atomics, IMSAR, SyberJet, Orbital ATK, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Kihomac, L-3 Communications and more.

Are these the only factors? Clearly not. That’s why the Economic Development Corporation of Utah has developed the “50 x 50” analysis of 50 business and economic metrics across all 50 states. Visit their web site and take a deep dive into regional and national factors, and contact them for your own copy of the 50 x 50 Research Brief.

On balance, Utah scores high in any objective—aggregated view of business friendliness, workforce quality, operational costs and more. If you’re looking to de-risk your business for the long haul, consider Utah as a stable and productive base for aerospace and composite manufacturing.


Incentives and infrastructure, assets and access—Acadiana has become a beacon for businesses both large and small. Aligning state and local resources, Acadiana—a nine-parish (county) region located in south Louisiana—provides a competitive edge for Aerospace companies. Attracted by the state’s established aviation industry and the nation’s #1 workforce development program, companies like PHI, Inc., Bell Helicopter, AvEx and Bristow Group’s Americas Region have established locations in this logistical hub and continue to thrive. Even with a number of major operations in the area, this Gulf Coast locale has hundreds of acres of land to expand, making it the perfect landing pad for aviation-focused investments.

Enjoying an abundance of economic assets and fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit, this culturally vibrant, rich in Cajun heritage region of the Southern U.S. is a special place to do business. Accompanying this quality of place is a business climate combining an extensive collection of competitive advantages, from low business operating costs to robust infrastructure, creating an ideal environment for success. Add to that the nation’s best state workforce development program and internationally competitive incentives, and it’s clear Acadiana provides companies a competitive edge.

No industry exemplifies this advantage more than Acadiana’s thriving and diverse aviation industry. As a result, some of the industry’s most respected names operate in Acadiana, capitalizing on its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operations; access to national and international markets; and a highly skilled, dedicated and loyal workforce.

PHI, Inc., known worldwide as a leading helicopter services company, calls Acadiana home. With a long history of operating in the global marketplace, PHI, Inc. has flown over 12 million rotary wing flight hours over the past 60 years, more than any private entity worldwide. In addition to operations in the U.S., the company operates in 43 countries across the globe. Every day, PHI helicopters fly up to 250 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, providing transportation, air medical and technical services to offshore oil and gas companies.

Bristow Group’s Americas Region, strategically headquartered in New Iberia, has operated for over 50 years in North America. Comprising operations in North America, South America, Latin America and Trinidad, Bristow primarily provides crew transport services to offshore drilling rigs and production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Clients consist of international, independent and major integrated oil and gas companies. Bristow maintains advanced flight-following systems and widespread and strategically located offshore fuel stations in the Acadiana region.

AvEx, a world leader in aviation exterior painting, has been located at Acadiana Regional Airport (ARA) in New Iberia for over 25 years. Taking advantage of ARA’s 8,000-foot runway, AvEx serves the jet fleets of industry leaders such as Boeing, FedEx and Southwest Airlines.

Most recently, Bell Helicopter made Lafayette its choice for production of its Bell 505 Jet Ranger X in 2014. The company already has invested $26.3 million in the region with plans to make an additional $11.4 million capital investment in equipment and tooling. While it could have chosen any location, Louisiana’s customized facilities solutions and skilled workforce made Acadiana the right choice.

The aviation industry in Acadiana is booming with significant investments being made on a variety of fronts. Lafayette Regional Airport recently constructed a new taxiway; completed a $5.1 million, 8,600-square-foot cargo facility to serve Bell Helicopter, PHI, FedEx and UPS; and has entered the design phase of a new $90 million passenger terminal. With its on-site rail spur, access to Highway 90 and proximity to the Port of Iberia, the Acadiana Regional Airport, has recently undergone a $5 million renovation that includes a small passenger terminal. This commercial airport boasts 1,200 total acres available for development, including 64 acres of state-certified land with prime runway and taxiway frontage. South Louisiana Community College has opened its International School of Aviation Excellence in Iberia Parish to train workers for the aviation industry, including mechanics, assemblers, pilots and avionics technicians. These major investments will help the 1A region better compete in a rapidly growing aerospace and aviation sector.

Acadiana’s market accessibility is a differentiator in the Gulf Coast region, with easy access to interstate, rail, ports and airports. Strategically located between the Houston and New Orleans markets at the intersection of Interstates 10 and 49, Acadiana provides access to 38 interior states via the Mississippi River and countless international markets via the Gulf of Mexico. Acadiana’s industrial electricity and natural gas rates are among the lowest in the South, even within the state of Louisiana.

Acadiana is dedicated to the growth of the aviation sector, and will align state and local resources to provide customized incentive packages for businesses looking to grow. Contact One Acadiana to learn more about the Aerospace Manufacturing Payroll Incentive, which can provide up to a 12 percent payroll rebate; the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, providing a competitive property tax exemption; and more.

In addition to its attractive business climate, Acadiana possesses incredibly rich cultural and culinary traditions of the Cajuns and Creoles, and is a place like no other. Warm and wonderfully hospitable people with a tireless work ethic; excellent food; and the quiet, singular beauty of the bayous and swamps of the Atchafalaya Basin set this region apart. These attributes make Acadiana a unique place to live, work and do business.

One Acadiana is the leading economic development organization for the nine-parish Acadiana region located in south Louisiana. With more than 1,200 investors, members and partners, One Acadiana serves as the voice of the regional business community. The organization is located in the city of Lafayette and serves a region of roughly 700,000 people with a vibrant culture and unique entrepreneurial spirit. For more information, contact Jim Bourgeios, Executive Director of Business Development at


Commercial Aviation and Research Opportunities are taking flight in the heart of Atlantic County, NJ, thanks to the new Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park (Stockton ARTP).

Atlantic County is recognized for its tourism attractions, pristine beaches, protected Pinelands, scenic rivers, fertile farmlands and award winning fresh water supply. But take a deeper look and you’ll find some of the aviation industry’s most notable assets, including the Atlantic City International Airport. Four operating runways are open to private, commercial and military aircraft. The main instrument runway is 10,000 ft. long and 180 ft. wide, and was previously an alternate landing site for NASA’s space shuttle program.

Adjacent to Atlantic City International Airport is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center, the nation’s premier aviation research, development, test and evaluation facility. Its world-class laboratories and top-notch engineering programs place it at the forefront of the FAA’s challenge to modernize the U.S. air transportation system and provide verification and validation in air traffic control, communications, navigation, aircraft safety and security.

Located at the site of the FAA, the all-new Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park (Stockton ARTP) is one of many ways Atlantic County is taking full advantage of its existing assets—including the Atlantic City International Airport, major educational institutions (Stockton University and Atlantic Cape Community College) and the FAA—to grow an aviation industry. A 501 (c) (3) non-profit auxiliary organization of Stockton University, Stockton ARTP is an industry, academia and government collaboration focused on research, innovation and commercialization of emerging technologies for aviation.

“The new park offers a unique opportunity for aviation and aviation-related companies to work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration, among other industry partners,” said Joe Sheairs, executive director, Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park.

The park’s location and partnership will give the facility full access to the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, which serves as the primary facility supporting the nation’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national air space. The area serves as one of six national UAS test sites. The FAA Campus includes the U.S. Marshal, Federal Air Marshal Service, Coast Guard Group Air Station Atlantic City and the New Jersey Air National Guard 177th Fighter Wing.

Stockton ARTP has begun site work on its first of seven multi-story buildings offering state-of-the-art research offices, laboratories, conference and meeting rooms, and high-speed connectivity with the FAA systems and laboratories. The full build-out will boast 400,000 square feet of research space and employ nearly 2,000 technicians, scientists, mathematicians and engineers in higher level research.

A trained labor force is available to staff aviation research and maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) activities. More than 1,400 avionics, electronic, electrical, structural-mechanical, machinist, welder technicians and engineers are located in proximity of the FAA Technical Center, airport and Stockton ARTP. An additional 15,000 technicians and 6,500 engineers can be found within an hour’s drive, as well as some of the country’s best engineering colleges and universities, including Drexel University, University of Pennsylvania and Rowan University.

There are plans to grow resident aviation occupations further. “In addition to Stockton ARTP, we’re working on establishing an airport-based campus where people can be trained to service and repair planes,” said Leo Schoffer, interim chairman, Atlantic County Economic Alliance. “Our plan is to expand the airport into a full aircraft maintenance and MRO site.”

In Atlantic County, the opportunities for innovation in aviation are vast and rapidly growing.

Leasing for Stockton ARTP is now available. For additional details contact Joe Sheairs at (609) 626-6046, or Max Slusher at (609) 343-2157, or visit the Stockton ARTP website.