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Canada’s early leadership in commercial aviation in the post-World War II period has resulted in a highly competitive Canadian aircraft systems and aircraft parts industry that is a global force. The value of its output in 2000 was just shy of $4 billion.
By specializing in the production of certain types of aircraft systems and aircraft parts, Canadian firms have become world-leading suppliers in particular market niches. Many of these firms have exploited commonalties in design and manufacturing to diversify into military and non-aerospace markets.
Exports represent more than 70 percent of the Canadian aircraft systems and parts industry revenues. Most of the aircraft systems and parts produced by Canadian firms are purchased by the United States, which accounts for more than 80 percent of Canadian aircraft systems and airplane parts exports. The Boeing Company alone annually sources more than $1 billion worth of aircraft systems and parts from more than 200 Canadian suppliers. Increasingly, though, Canadian firms are penetrating the European market. Their continuing success in winning work packages on the Airbus A380 program will help Canada continue to export its leading products around the world.
The industry draws its strength from a combination of large, domestically-owned firms, subsidiaries of foreign multinationals and an extensive number of smaller firms with niche expertise.
By taking on progressively more complex and ambitious work packages, Canadian aircraft systems and parts are now proven suppliers of choice to the world’s aircraft manufacturers and air framers. They are responding to the demands of globalization by increasing capacity and acquiring enhanced design-build and manufacturing competencies. Smaller firms within the sector are now able to undertake subassembly, and the larger firms are becoming full integrators of major systems.
To ensure their competitive edge in global aircraft systems and aircraft parts, Canadian firms rely on the latest technologies to enhance the performance endurance of their products. Their wide-scale adoption of lean manufacturing techniques further assures their ability to provide customers with price-competitive products that meet the exacting standards of commercial and military use.
Canadian Strengths and Excellence
Employing the latest in CNC 5-axis machining, laser welding, and advanced robotic assembly, Canadian firms manufacture an array of primary flight structures that include horizontal and vertical stabilizers, wing and fuselage components and subassemblies. Canada’s manufacturing strengths are complemented by sophisticated design and engineering capabilities – including extensive use of CATIA workstations and robotic cells.
Canadian firms manufacture aircraft components and assemblies at every level of complexity – from machined, composite and sheet metal parts and fully integrated mechanical assemblies to flight control surfaces and aircraft and helicopter fuselages.
Canadian firms have competencies in the fabrication of metal, composites and plastic aircraft components that span a full range of primary and secondary flight structures, including horizontal and vertical stabilizers, flight control surfaces, fuselage components and interior panel assemblies.
Canada’s aircraft parts sector also has leading-edge capabilities in the design and manufacture of composite parts for both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Many smaller firms offer a range of niche specialty products and services. These range from the non-metallic interior products for commuter and business aircraft to special alloy castings.
Current Aerospace Industry Statistics: View the latest Canadian aerospace industry statistics (PDF)
Canadian Aerospace Products & Services: Browse through a listing of aerospace products and services offered by Canadian aerospace companies.