Alabama’s aerospace sector is continuing its meteoric rise thanks to a 65 percent increase in exports last year. In 2016, Alabama aerospace companies exported $1.4 billion in products, which represents a 156 percent increase since 2011.
“The aerospace industry – as does the automotive industry – values U.S.-made products because Federal Aviation Authority regulations ensure that they are ‘airworthy.’ Not all countries have the quality that the U.S. and Alabama products do,” Hilda Lockhart, director of the Office of International Trade at the Alabama Department of Commerce, told Made in Alabama.
Alabama has followed the general trend seen in the sector across the country in terms of its recent growth. According to the Aerospace Industries Association, the domestic sector broke records in 2016 with $146 billion in exports.
Lockhart told Made in Alabama that the state has benefited from the type of products that are rising in demand. “There is a large demand for civil aircraft around the world. With the continued demand for parts, we should see the upward trend of our exports continue as well,” she said.
Alabama has numerous aerospace-related manufacturing facilities across the state. The largest of these plants, The AirBus Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, has drawn in several other aerospace sector investments since its opening in 2015.
The top market for Alabama aerospace exports last year was the United Arab Emirates. In 2016, UAE imports of Alabama aerospace products shot up 244 percent from the previous year. The other top foreign markets last year were France, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. These countries primarily imported civilian aircraft, engines, and parts.
2016 was a record-breaking year for Alabama exports overall, with $20.6 billion worth of products shipped overseas.
Last year’s total breaks the previous high of $19.6 billion set back in 2012. More than half of Alabama’s monetary export total stems from the state’s transportation manufacturing sector. At nearly $10.7 billion, these automobiles, aircraft components, and boats climbed 15 percent in 2016.