A new study by the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) shows the aviation maintenance (MRO) industry’s economic impact tops $39 billion.
The report prepared by AeroStrategy, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based management consultancy, determined that spending in the global MRO market exceeded $50 billion in 2008, with North America (the U.S. and Canada) accounting for $19.4 billion of the total. When related economic effects are considered, the MRO industry’s impact on the U.S. economy is $39 billion per year.
AeroStrategy found that North America is a major net exporter of aviation maintenance services, enjoying a $2.4 billion positive balance of trade in this arena. While North America is a slight net importer of heavy airframe maintenance services, it has $1.4 billion and $1.2 billion trade surpluses in the engine overhaul and component maintenance services markets.
The U.S. competitive advantage in these two areas has important economic benefits because one dollar of spending on airframe heavy maintenance generates just $1.38 in additional economic activity, while a dollar spent on engine overhaul and component maintenance services generates $1.85 and $1.67, respectively.
The report also found there are nearly 4,200 firms with more than 200,000 employees are involved in the civil MRO market in the United States. About 85% of those companies are small and medium-size enterprises, which account for 21% of all industry employment.
ARSA commissioned the study in part to better understand the consequences of legislation that would make it harder for aviation maintenance companies to serve international airlines. Of particular note is the aviation bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year that the European Union has said violates existing treaties. The EU has threatened to retaliate against U.S. companies if it becomes law.
“We now have a better understanding than ever about how small companies and their employees in communities throughout the United States are tied to the global marketplace,” ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod said. “Congress should be looking for ways to make it easier for these U.S. companies to serve foreign customers, not trying to hamstring a highly-competitive sector of our economy.”
The full ARSA/AeroStrategy report is available at ARSA.org/node/586.