IT boosts aerospace firms

The aerospace industry will see strong growth in information technologies and solutions needed to bolster homeland defense, a top industry official said in his annual state of the industry speech.

"There clearly will be solid expansion in the industry ... that will have to do with IT in ways to identify people and track things," said John Douglass, president and chief executive officer of the Aerospace Industries Association. Douglass was speaking at the AIA's annual year-end review and forecast in Washington.

Although the events of Sept. 11 are sparking an upsurge in IT spending related to homeland security, those same events will cause a sharp contraction in overall industry sales, especially in commercial aircraft production, he said. The aerospace industry expects to see a $6.6 billion decline to $144.4 billion in 2002.

Douglass expressed optimism that the industry would rebound quickly rather than continue the decline. For example, the industry reported profits of an estimated $8.7 billion in 2001, up from $7.3 billion in 2000, he said. Also, sales for military equipment are expected to increase next year by $5.1 billion to $54 billion.

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