21 December 2017

2017 Flashback – 2018 Preview

Not a bad year” was the general conclusion of many of our members at the NAG General Assembly held on December 6th 2017. Overall, results were encouraging with revenues up across all our three segments.

Aircraft manufacturing is enjoying the upswing in production volumes as aircraft OEMs are gearing up to meet customer demand with order books filled for the upcoming five years. Concerns remain in the engineering community as there are hardly any new programs on the horizon, be it civil or military, that warrant an increase in engineering resources. The maintenance sector continues to grow at an even pace, not only by new aircraft entering the market but also by deferred retirement of older aircraft as deliveries of new aircraft are delayed due to engine-related issues.

Although the new generation of aircraft and engines requires new manufacturing and repair technologies, thus offering opportunities for (relatively) high-cost suppliers to differentiate themselves from Asian / Eastern European competitors, developing these technologies in-house is no panacea as OEMs have increased barriers to entry in order to protect their return on investment. The challenge for many of our members is to find ways in which they can become or remain a partner for their higher-tier customers for the longer term in order to reap the benefits of the ever growing market.

The same applies to the airport infrastructure segment. In the Far East, many opportunities arise by the transformation of military airports into civil ones, the refurbishment of existing airports and the establishment of green-field airports. In Europe and the Americas, the business predominantly focuses on improving the efficiency of operational processes. Here, our members face a different challenge i.e. how to find & approach the true decision makers as every airport development seems to require a different consortium setup.

The NAG tries to assist you, as a member, to the best of its abilities. On the basis of your response to our 2017 survey, we will continue to organize international networking events and trade missions with B2B sessions at the 2018 Farnborough Air Show and proposed trade missions to Germany, the Nordic Countries, and the UK. We plan to intensify our initiatives to increase the knowledge base by means of organizing theme sessions around AS9100, digitization, human resources, laws & regulations, quality assurance, and aero engines. Furthermore, we look forward to meeting you and colleagues of other member companies located in your region at lunch sessions during the course of 2018 to exchange ideas on how we can further improve our services to you.

The aerospace and airport infrastructure industry remains subject to change, and the NAG realizes that it has to prove its raison d’être to you as a member each year. Being a member of a trade association is an investment which needs to show a valuable return, be it in new business opportunities, business contacts, and / or enhanced knowledge and experience.

The Board, management and members of the NAG team will try their best to meet your expectations, and where possible to exceed them in 2018. We wish you a healthy and prosperous 2018.