Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Boeing's Albaugh: US Aerospace Leadership at Risk From Global Competition; Warns of America's "Intellectual Disarmament"

Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, addressed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Aviation Summit, which brings together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss key issues facing the industry. Albaugh warned that the U.S. is at risk of slipping from the top of the industry unless changes are made. (Courtesy of U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Washington, DC   -   "America may be the world's leader in aerospace, but other countries are making commercial aviation a priority and investing heavily in innovation", said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Commercial Airplanes during a presentation on 4/27/11..

"Will we take the steps required to maintain our leadership? Or will we allow aerospace and aviation to join the list of industries that America used to lead?" Albaugh asked last week at the 10th annual Aviation Summit, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. "We can overcome the threats if we take the right steps."

The summit brings together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss key issues facing the industry. In addition to Albaugh, this year's speakers included Randy Babbitt, administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Billy Glover, Commercial Airplanes vice president, Environment and Aviation Policy, served on a panel devoted to aviation's impact on alternative fuels.

In his remarks, Albaugh talked about three forces shaping the industry today: globalization, increasing competition and shifting demographics in the workforce. Earthquakes in Japan can affect businesses on the other side of the world. More companies -- and countries -- are competing for the $3.6 trillion commercial airplane market in the next 20 years. Highly skilled engineers are nearing retirement and the United States is not producing enough engineers to meet future needs.

"It's contributing to what I call the intellectual disarmament of our country," Albaugh said. "Along with reduced R&D spending, I believe this puts us at risk. If we continue along this path, America will lose its lead in aerospace. We risk breaking a long-standing continuum of capability in our industry, our economy will lose an important engine of growth and our country will be more vulnerable and less secure."

Albaugh advocated for a clear, coherent and comprehensive industrial policy and for policies that encourage innovation. He also urged support for a public education system that equips young people to address the challenges of our time: climate change, energy independence and health care, among them.

"We are the stewards of a proud and vital legacy," Albaugh said. "Together, we can keep America the world's leader in aerospace."

Contact: Christina E. Kelly, Boeing Communications

C-Span Video:

Publisher's note: Albaugh's comments are timely and quite warranted given the current state of US Aerospace and the US industrial base at large.  The analyses linked below lend further credence, we believe, to the accuracy, relevancy and criticality of his observations...  Myron D. Stokes