Marion C. Blakey, President & CEO
February 21, 2014
Please allow me to tie a ribbon around the tremendous sales package we’ve heard about today. As a spokesman for our industry, it’s a pleasure to salute a great American company that excels at creating new export markets and job opportunities here at home.
This impressive deal, on top of Gulfstream’s recent speed records with the G650 and G280 represent the continuing excellence that personifies our industry at its best.
I might add I’m no stranger to the worldwide scope of your activities. Last fall I toured Gulfstream Beijing’s Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility at the Beijing Capitol International Airport. It’s top-notch, part of a linked chain of business relationships that enable American workers here in Savannah and throughout Gulfstream’s supply chain to benefit from the burgeoning growth of China’s aviation system.
But as we well know, in today’s competitive international marketplace, U.S. manufacturers need a level playing field to succeed in penetrating emerging markets. With more than 59 foreign export credit agencies supporting their nation’s firms, it’s imperative that U.S. companies have ready access to credit and are able to compete fairly on a global scale.
As AIA has said loudly and often, the Ex-Im Bank is an essential partner for America’s job creating manufacturers, and for the many supply chain companies that support them. I’m gratified that under Chairman Hochberg’s leadership, the Bank has made such a strong commitment to supporting not only general aviation, but also space systems and commercial aviation. And lest we forget, the export credits that made this and other sales possible come at no cost to the taxpayer – actually returning more than $1.1 billion last year to the Treasury.
Obviously, these have been challenging times for our industry. The recession and reduced federal budgets for defense, space and civil aviation have resulted in significant job losses, especially among small and medium sized companies. Yet we’ve forged ahead, working hard to keep our industrial base strong by seizing market growth opportunities in places like China. When you realize that China could account for 20 percent of all business jet deliveries by decade’s end, up from about seven percent now, the importance of today’s announcement is clear.
Companies like Gulfstream have identified a promising path for our industry. And with the continued support of the Ex-Im Bank, the future looks bright. American aerospace companies can continue exporting the world’s best aviation products and delivering the largest manufacturing surplus of any American business sector.
With that said, thank you very much for the opportunity to be a part of this very noteworthy announcement.