- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
Aerospace Industries Association
Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America (ACCA) founded with a charter membership of 100 “to foster, advance, promulgate and promote aeronautics…and to do every act and thing…necessary…for the advancement of American aviation.” Early members included Orville Wright and Glenn H. Curtiss and representatives of most aircraft manufacturers. Its predecessor, the Aircraft Manufacturers Association (1917), was the first formal organization of aircraft manufacturers. By facilitating cross-licensing of patents, it cleared the way for production of aircraft to help the U.S. effort in World War I. Later known as the Manufacturers Aircraft Association (MAA), it focused on unification of the air industry, public education, and industry technical concerns.
First publication of the Aircraft Year Book, later to become the Aerospace Year Book, and for years, the single source of statistics, information on legislative and government activities in aviation, outstanding aviation records, scientific developments, and data on new aircraft, engines, and accessories.
AIA’s National Aerospace Standards Committee was established to develop technical standards for items designed into aerospace products and used in their fabrication. To date, over 2,800 National Aerospace Standards (NAS) have been developed, constituting the third largest group of U.S. voluntary standards. Today, most free world aircraft and aerospace products are established according to NAS guidelines, and incorporate parts and components that also comply with NAS. These include products designed and built outside the United States.
The ACCA carried on limited functions during World War II while manufacturers focused on the war effort through East and West Coast Aircraft War Production Councils. In 1944, the industry produced more military planes than had been built by a country in any one-year period in world history and more than had been built in the entire world before 1940.
The publication, Planes, became the “voice” of the industry. It was later succeeded by Aerospace magazine, and today’s AIA newsletter -- AIA eUpdate. The Newsletter reaches an audience of 15,000 in industry, government, academia, the financial community, and the media.
The ACCA became the Aircraft Industries Association. It assumed many functions of the War Production Councils and was reorganized to focus on developing the industry’s commercial aviation and related trade and commercial interests. The organization became a trade association for the first time.
AIA published Aviation Facts & Figures (now Aerospace Facts & Figures), the first comprehensive survey of aviation statistics. Facts & Figures is now in its 36th edition.
Financial conditions caused by contraction of the industry and a glut of aircraft following World War II led AIA to call for a national air policy to ensure survival of the industry in order to fulfill its mission in national defense. Its efforts led to the establishment of a Congressional Aviation Policy Board and the President’s Air Policy Commission. AIA staff developed, “Elements of American Air Power,” an encyclopedia of information on conditions in the industry.
The Aviation Policy Board and Air Policy Commission recommended a significant expansion in aircraft production, more than tripling the rate of industry output prevailing since VJ-Day. The importance of a healthy, technologically progressive, peacetime aircraft industry – and its relevance to U.S. social and economic welfare and national security - was firmly established.
Work of the AIA Export Committee contributed to declassification of military aircraft for sale in the Western Hemisphere and to a more uniform western defense program.
During the Korean War, AIA was the central aircraft industry organization seeking a solution to a myriad of problems connected with mobilization requirements for aircraft production.
From the mid-‘50s through the mid-‘60s, AIA prepared annual 5 to 10-year forecasts of engineering and manufacturing trends and requirements, reflecting the thinking of industry’s top technical people.
AIA adopted a long-range program of cooperation with the National Aviation Education Council to produce instructional materials for schools. Support for the development of educational materials continued into the 1970s when AIA provided housing and support for the nascent National Aerospace Education Association. This continued until it became an independent organization in January 1979.
Nineteen AIA member companies, in concert with the USAF Air Materiel Command and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed the Automatically Programmed Tool (APT) system for machining complex aircraft and missile parts. In effect, the program designed the system and specifications for creating the machines of the future and resulted in 80 to 95 percent savings in skilled man-hours. Up to that time, it had been the largest cooperative R&D program in the U.S.
In 1961, AIA established the APT Long Range Program to continue the system’s development and extend its benefits to other industries. The Illinois Institute of Technology’s Research Institute operated the program under contract.
The Aircraft Industries Association became Aerospace Industries Association of America to reflect the broader industry product line, missile systems as well as aircraft, and the industry’s embryonic involvement in space.
AIA played a key role in forming the Council of Defense and Space Industry Associations (CODSIA). CODSIA gave a variety of defense associations an opportunity to speak with a “single voice,” making industry and government communications more efficient.
AIA’s Aerospace Research Center was established to bring perspective and a broader understanding to the issues, problems, and policies affecting the aerospace industry through studies, trend analyses, and position papers.
AIA played a major role in supporting and assisting U.S. government negotiators during the Tokyo Round of the GATT negotiations. The Civil Aircraft Agreement, concluded through the Tokyo Round, significantly liberalized and promoted trade in civil aerospace.
AIA assumed the secretariat of ISO/TC 20, the committee responsible for developing international aerospace standards.
AIA and the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging coordination and cooperation on issues of major importance to both aerospace industries. It was the first time two associations had signed an international MOU of this kind.
AIA embarked on a national technology development program, “Key Technologies for the 1990s.” The goal was to provide a model for setting technology priorities that would help keep U.S. aerospace and related industries competitive in coming decades.
An Aerospace Technology Policy Forum involving industry, government, and university leaders
was organized as the vehicle for initiating policy changes to facilitate Key Technologies development.
AIA Board of Governors adopted a resolution strongly encouraging specific activities by its members to increase their subcontract awards to small disadvantaged businesses.
AIA established an industry-funded National Center for Advanced Technologies to foster the Key Technologies strategy.
AIA Board of Governors approved the charter creating the Civil Aviation Council. The Council is the focal point within AIA for all matters concerning civil aviation and vertical flight. Its formation recognized the increasing importance of commercial business in the industry.
AIA celebrated its 70th anniversary with a reception hosted by the Communications Council at the National Air & Space Museum.
AIA organizes its efforts to increase subcontract awards to small disadvantaged businesses in the form of a Board of Governors' nine-point resolution implemented by each AIA member company
AIA's Aerospace Technical Council and Operations Service merged to reflect general trends within the industry including concurrent manufacturing and engineering operations.
AIA received an Export Trade Certificate allowing its members to exchange information and negotiate for better terms and conditions on participation in international trade shows.
Several years of effort by AIA came to fruition as Congress approved and the President signed into law important changes to statutes covering allowability of Independent Research and Development/Bid and Proposal costs and the treatment of technical data rights. This action significantly eases the industry's research costs and administrative burden.
The President signed an executive order establishing the National Industrial Security Program (NISP), which AIA initiated cooperatively with government to develop a national industrial security program for the 21st century. NISP replaced more than 1,000 separate government security programs and 340 regulations with one program.
AIA industry representatives provided coordinated industry advice to senior administration officials to the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations resulting in the successful achievements of the aerospace industry in this important trade agreement.
The final report of the Section 800 Panel, formed by the FY 1991 DoD Authorization Bill, analyzed more than 800 Defense Department acquisition related laws. The panel, which included participation from AIA, set the stage for far-reaching systemic acquisition reform.
The aerospace industry supported NASA in surpassing its 8% goal of awarding contracts and subcontracts to small disadvantaged businesses, which continues today.
With significant input by AIA, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) was passed and signed into law. This bill provides government customers with the opportunity to provide products and services in a more timely and efficient manner, and represents the first of several significant legislative acquisition reform packages. FASA is the most voluminous procurement measure passed by Congress since 1947.
AIA established and incorporated the Coalition to Preserve the Defense Industrial Base, a non-profit organization designed to promote and advance the general welfare and long-term viability of the private-sector defense industrial base in the United States. Don Fuqua, president of AIA, was a charter member of the Coalition Board of Directors.
Industry, under AIA's leadership, surpasses its goal with the Defense Department of awarding 5% of subcontracts to small disadvantaged businesses, which continues today.
AIA culminated several years of work with the FAA, operators, distributors, and foreign repair stations to establish a rigorous process ensuring that only approved parts are used in civil transport aircraft and that industry's goal of "zero tolerance for unapproved parts" is a reality.
The President issued a presidential decision directive to fulfill a key objective of the association to obtain an affirmative policy statement on defense exports. The policy calls for government officials to actively support foreign sales of U.S. defense equipment when it is consistent with U.S. foreign policy interests. It also directs that impact of a sale on the U.S. defense industrial base should be considered when making an export decision.
AIA was instrumental in having language adopted to eliminate R&D recoupment of non-recurring charges on Foreign Military Sales as long as appropriate offsets are identified before implementation. This follows a 1992 decision by the administration to eliminate recoupment charges from commercial derivatives of military technology.
AIA's National Aerospace Standards' Early Warning Project group was established to maintain standardization, with all its inherent cost and safety benefits, for aerospace parts and materials.
AIA and a number of its member companies were commended by the EPA for their participation in developing the Aerospace National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants and the Aerospace Control Techniques Guideline. The four-year effort set a precedent in developing a cooperative dialogue to meet the expectations of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.
Achieving a long-term goal of AIA, the FY 1996 Defense Authorization Bill established the Defense Export Loan Guarantee Facility providing loan guarantees for certain defense products.
AIA formed the Supplier Management Council providing a forum for aerospace associate members from the supplier base and AIA member companies to improve the customer-supplier relationship. (SMC)
John W. Douglass, became the 7th fulltime executive of AIA.
AIA Space Committee was strengthened and elevated to a council that reports to the association president.
AIA was instrumental in the formation of the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry. AIA President and CEO John Douglass was one of 12 commission members. Established by Congress and the White House, the Commission was directed to study “the future of the United States aerospace industry in the global economy, particularly in relationship to United States national security; and to assess the future importance of the domestic aerospace industry for the economic and national security of the United States.”
The Commission on the Future of the United Sates Aerospace Industry released its final report in November. The report garnered substantial policy attention on the U.S. aerospace industry, structural issues that required attention and the importance of aerospace to the nation. The Commission’s recommendation to transform the U.S. air transportation system as a national priority resulted in the establishment of the Joint Program and Development Office, a key step establishing a multi-agency/department organization to spearhead the development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System.
Established as a one-time event to celebrate the centennial of flight in 2003, the Team American Rocketry Challenge was so successful, it was established as an annual event to attract young people to study math and science and pursue a career in aerospace. As of 2009, more than 50,000 students from all 50 states had participated in the program and it has become the world’s largest rocket contest.
AIA established a National Security Division encompassing defense, technical operations, military aviation and modernization functions. The Executive Committee of the Board of Governors decided on the move to implement an expanded emphasis on defense and national security issues within the association.
In July 2006, AIA established the Cost Estimating Forum Working Group (CEFWG) consisting of industry contractors and key government representatives from the USAF, OSD, NRO and DNI to address cost analysis and estimating. By 2007, the work of the CEFWG resulted in the formation of a permanent joint government and industry space cost analysis and estimating improvement council called the Joint Space Cost Council.
Marion C. Blakey becomes the 8th fulltime executive of AIA.
AIA led the organization and launch of the multi-association Coalition for Security and Competitiveness, a major effort to enhance America’s national security, economic strength, and technological leadership by supporting a modern U.S. export control system that is more efficient, predictable and transparent. The Coalition and subsequent efforts by AIA resulted in significant and ongoing improvements to the U.S. export control system, guided in part by the issuance of a pair of National Security Presidential Directives (NSPD) in 2008.
AIA initiates a year-long effort to bring the industry’s top issues to the presidential candidates. The effort resulted in a number of reports on key industry issues including the defense budget and modernization, workforce and space priorities. The effort resulted in a substantial increase in awareness amongst the candidates.
AIA launched a outreach campaign aimed at lawmakers, the administration and the general public to highlight the strength of the industry in tough economic times. The campaign message ─ “Aerospace and Defense: the Strength to Lift America” stresses that the aerospace industry is performing well and should not be a bill payer for other economic sectors seeking government bailouts. The campaign featured advertisements in major news outlets such as the Washington Post, inside-the-beltway publications and National Public Radio. The campaign augmented more than 150 meetings to position the industry positively with the new administration and Congress.
The first-ever National Aerospace Week is a resounding success.
Organized by AIA, the aerospace community joined together to highlight the contributions of our industry. National Aerospace Week comprised of more than 25 events from the East Coast to Hawaii with thousands of participants in many different venues – air shows, webinars, plant visits, community and career days.
In 2011, AIA launched the Second to None budget education campaign which is focused on educating lawmakers and the public about the contributions the aerospace and defense industry are making to the U.S. national economy.
Organized by AIA and supported by its members, Second to None's bedrock platform is to advocate for a strong aerospace and defense industry. As the U.S. looks to slim federal expenditures, Second to None has taken the lead in the battle to fight back against mindless across the board budget cuts in favor of a balanced bipartisan approach that will make strategic cuts which account for the complex needs of U.S. national security.