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Competition Is
      a Mixed Blessing
     Aerospace hubs must rethink their competitive strengths
in light of new players in the industry and location arenas.

Now in flight testing, the twin-engine Eclipse 500, from Albuquerque-based Eclipse Aviation Corp., is one of several "very light jets" set to enter production in the coming months. The southwestern U.S. is seeing significant investment from manufacturers of this type of aircraft.


erospace industry hubs in North America and elsewhere can no longer take their grip on that sector for granted. Those that claim cluster status — Tulsa, Toronto and Toulouse, to name three — are subject to global competitive forces at work in any major industry, such as labor costs and logistics concerns. In today's business world, some regions may have to double their efforts to keep aerospace companies from looking for less costly locations, especially in new areas where the industry is gaining a toehold.
      The Ohio Aerospace and Defense Advisory Council (OADAC) recently commissioned Kleinhenz and Associates, a consultancy, and industry experts at Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University to produce an analysis of Ohio's aerospace industry, which employs 60,000 people. The report concluded, in part, "These businesses face sophisticated, relentless competitive attack. This pressure creates a stark choice for the State: Unless Ohio invests aggressively in aerospace and defense, it is likely to lose its competitive position."
      The analysis recommended that OADAC, which advises the governor on policy affecting the aerospace industry, embark on four strategic initiatives in order to remain competitive. They are (1) build a deeper, more comprehensive strategy for the state's aerospace and defense industry and all its components; (2) create a database and information system to develop new business opportunities and linkages among companies, federal labs in the area and universities — current knowledge of this area is "fragmented," the report maintains; (3) strengthen, focus and align the resources of the Ohio Department of Development to support the aerospace and defense industries; and (4) create and support more effective advocacy at the federal and state levels for all components of the industries.

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