The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest aerospace technical society, issued a statement on 20 March 2020, calling on federal government officials and lawmakers to be mindful of and support the aerospace and defense industry during this challenging time.
A press release from the AIAA reads:
The coronavirus pandemic is stalling the global economy, impairing businesses, and changing how we go about our daily lives. Its impact is multiplying, and the effects reach far beyond this year’s balance sheets.
Here in the United States, the aerospace and defense industry supports more than 2.5 million jobs and 17,000 suppliers from large manufacturers to small businesses that form the backbone of the supply chain. It represents more than $928 billion in economic output for the United States and more than US$237 billion in wages. The industry has improved our quality of life by transforming transportation, medicine, defense, and security, among other things.
In times such as these, the aerospace and defense sector is essential to protect our national security and provide much needed logistics capability to bring critical supplies to areas of need. Its highly skilled workforce has made significant advances in areas such as autonomy, cybersecurity, air mobility, and space exploration. The aerospace and defense workforce is an essential driver of innovation for the U.S. economy, our national security, and expanding the utilization of space for future generations. We need the industry to survive the crisis and build our future.
The aerospace and defense industry is vital to the prominent position of the United States in global competitiveness, innovation, and technical leadership. The coronavirus pandemic presents a new challenge and our global leadership in this sector will falter if the industry is not protected during this time of crisis. The aerospace and defense contribution to the economy on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis will be crucial for restarting and building the economic engine to its pre-crisis momentum.
The industry is experiencing an economic downturn that’s worse than 9/11. Airlines are laying off thousands of workers and cutting flights. Maintenance, repair, and overhaul workers are also feeling the impacts. We’re in the initial stages of the COVID-19 crisis and can expect to see more jobs affected as the world responds to the pandemic.
We call on federal government officials and lawmakers to be mindful of and support the aerospace and defense industry during this challenging time.
The statement is available on the AIAA website.