Except for only one year since 1908, the U.S. aerospace manufacturers have gotten a majority of their business from government contracts, which as recently at 10 years ago accounted for more than 75% of the industrys sales. But that is changing this year. As a result of the end of the Cold War and pressures to balance the federal budget, in 1997 the industry will sell as much to commercial customers as to Uncle Sam, announces Aerospace Industries Assn. of America (AIA) President Don Fuqua. This year we reach the 50-50 mark--50% of the industrys aerospace sales will be to customers other than the U.S. government, he said at AIAs annual year-end review and forecast luncheon Dec. 17. And next year the sales mix will shift to 55% nongovernment work, 45% U.S. government. The trend will continue far into the 21st century. While the direction of our industry has been clear for some time, the crossover brings with it a faint touch of cultural shock as we pass a significant milestone.
The industrys sales will increase this year by 11% to $129 billion, Fuqua said. AIA projects that sales will reach a record $144.5 billion in 1998.