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Study Finds Florida First for U.S. Aviation Manufacturing Attractiveness

Jan. 16, 2014

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is trumpeting the results of a new report showing that Florida is ranked the top state for U.S. aviation manufacturing attractiveness.

The study ranked Florida’s talent first, its industry ninth and its cost sixth for an overall ranking of first in the nation. The PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP study – titled “Aviation’s Second Gold Age: Can the U.S. aircraft industry maintain leadership?” – used a weighted average of the following variables: costs, workforce and number of aerospace companies. Texas was ranked second and Washington ranked third.

According to the study, the U.S. aircraft sector is the country’s largest net exporter, with a trade surplus of $71.1 billion in 2012. Currently about half of all general aviation (GA) aircraft manufactured in the U.S. are exported, and the worldwide market is forecast to grow rapidly, especially in Asia, contributing even more to the U.S. balance of trade.

“We fought last session [of the state legislature] to build up Florida manufacturing by removing the tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, so more Florida families would have access to great jobs – and it’s working,” Scott said in a statement.

“This ranking is great news for our state and helps us to recruit more manufacturing businesses to move to or expand in Florida,” the governor added. “Thanks to our success, aviation manufacturing companies like Embrarer, the Aviation Partners Group (APG) and OMA SUD partnership, Aveo Engineering, and BRS Aerospace are relocating and expanding in Florida.”

“We know that Gov. Scott appreciates business aviation, given that,” said Harry Houckes, NBAA Southeast regional representative. “Since his 2010 election, he has issued two ‘GA Appreciation Month’ proclamations honoring the economic and social contributions of all general aviation, including business aviation, to Florida.” View Scott’s most recent GA Appreciation Month proclamation.

Both of Scott’s proclamations declare that Florida communities are dependent on general aviation and local airports, and each declaration extols aviation’s role in the flow of commerce and business, as well as its importance in emergencies and natural disasters.

The industry also enjoys support from Florida’s congressional delegation. For example, in an interview for NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider magazine, fifth-generation Floridian and Sen. Bill Nelson (D) noted how business aviation benefits companies of all sizes in his home state.

“With an airplane, a business based in Pensacola can do a meeting in Key West and be back for lunch without the connecting flights, security lines and rigidity of airline schedules,” the senator noted in a story published in the January/February 2009 edition of Business Aviation Insider. “They can serve more clients in less time, be more productive and more flexible.” Read the Business Aviation Insider interview with Nelson in its entirety.

Florida has also repeatedly been the site of NBAA's Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, most recently in 2012. That year, the Orlando-based event drew 25,150 attendees from 87 countries, hosted more than 1,000 exhibitors and 105 aircraft in two static display areas, and provided the host city with an estimated economic impact of more than $51 million. NBAA’s 2014 Convention returns to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center this year, from Oct. 21 to 23.

Review the PriceWaterhouseCoopers study.