BC Aerospace Industry Shows Strong Potential to Grow as Economic Driver

August 7, 2015

First-ever study of the BC aerospace sector reveals strengths, challenges and opportunities

A new study reveals that the BC Aerospace industry is made up of over 160 small, medium and large firms that directly employ 8,300 British Columbians and generate $2.4 billion in revenues and $1.3 billion in value-added output (Gross Domestic Product – GDP). Furthermore, growth in aerospace is predicted to have a significant impact on the BC economy with each $100 million in additional revenues resulting in up to $138 million in additional GDP, plus 330 direct and up to 450 indirect jobs. The study, KPMG’s Economic Impact Analysis and Capabilities Study of the BC Aerospace Industry, was commissioned by the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC Pacific) in partnership with the Province of BC.

The study also revealed that BC’s aerospace industry is the third-largest in Canada and a national leader in the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and the rapidly-evolving and high-value In-Service Support (ISS) sectors. BC is also home to one of Canada’s aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and is a leader in space technology, with specialized capabilities in satellite communications and earth observation.

“This study is an important first step in developing a growth strategy for BC aerospace, as it lays out the current state of the industry and identifies where we need to close gaps and enhance capabilities in order to take the industry to the next level,” said David Schellenberg, Chair of AIAC Pacific. “We’re excited to be working in partnership with the provincial government to develop and implement a strategy that will see aerospace contribute to the growth of a diversified BC economy.”

The study was conducted with financial support from the Province of BC, which has committed $5 million over five years to unify and grow the BC aerospace industry and attract more global business and investment to BC.

“As we look forward to incredible growth within BC’s aerospace industry, it’s important to make sure we have a clear snapshot of where this sector is at,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. “The key findings from this study will help us to know exactly where we stand, creating a foundation for further growth that will continue to keep our economy diverse as well as create jobs for British Columbians.”

The study identifies a variety of opportunities and challenges the BC industry must meet in order to continue growing in size and importance nationally and internationally, including:

  • Proximity to Boeing’s final assembly lines in Washington State;
  • Strengths in the rapidly-growing space sector;
  • Industrial Technological Benefit (ITB) obligations and defence procurement opportunities;
  • Industry fragmentation;
  • Disproportionately small share of aerospace R&D.

“British Columbia is an important player on the national aerospace stage, and as this study reveals, it is well positioned for growth,” said Jim Quick, President and CEO, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. “AIAC, both nationally and in BC, looks forward to continue working with BC’s aerospace leadership and the provincial government to ensure BC is a full participant in national initiatives and is able to build on the industry’s current strengths and develop important new capabilities.”

AIAC Pacific is working with a team of industry leaders and experts to develop and implement a strategy to position BC’s aerospace industry to participate fully in national initiatives, gain international exposure and pursue global business opportunities.

The complete Economic Impact Analysis and Capabilities Study of the BC Aerospace Industry is available for viewing here.