Where Did The Aviation Jobs In The USA Go?
Losing Aviation Jobs In The USA
This article is not so much about pilot flying jobs but jobs in the aviation manufacturing industry. This involves just one product in the aviation manufacturing industry and this is for military in flight fueling tankers.
For such a long time, there had been only one single big, tough, head macho guy in the ‘in flight’ fueling tankers. The Boeing Company had a tight grip on this particular market that they thought they owned it – and they were starting to get a bit too relaxed. However, in this Capitalistic world that we’re in, we thrive on competition as it provides the very best of products and also the very best value in terms of prices for consumers. So when one Airbus airplane flew from Spain and in midair refueled a Portuguese F-16 with a 50-footer boom (this is what they use to refuel airborne), it suddenly became aparent that Airbus Industries wanted to enter the fueling tanker market.
All this happened only moments before the United States Air Force decided who they were awarding to the $35 billion contract which would result in a many more tankers being constructed. Because Airbus (owned by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS)) made bold efforts and invested $100 million in the ‘boom’ technology and demostrated it by refueling an F-16 at the end of February, Boeing totally lost out on this coveted contract that could expand to more than $100 billion.
EADS was able to design and refit an A330 jetliner that is said to carry more fuel than their competitor, the Boeing 767, and it could also be more flexibile to convert for cargo, personnel, etc., with help from Northrop Grumman (a Los Angeles based company). As it is, this much competition must be good for the military establishment because they are obtaining the best weaponry possibly at the best price.
Only, there are some problems that arises and some are saying that purchasing Airbus’ tankers is considered anti-American. Anti-American. Competition is anti-American? Doesn’t this statement contradict itself? As Americans, we thrive and prosper on competition; however, many are aguing that this is not thought to be a good direction for America to go to. Why, though?
As the nation is just out of a recession, the need of additional aviation jobs in the USA can’t be stressed enough. This nation of ours is one that requires buying of manufactured goods to lift up our economy; except, with no jobs, there’s no money, and this means there is no means to buy those things. This is a vicious cycle.
Boeing has stated without doubt that 85% of the parts they will use would be made in America while Airbus said that 60% of their parts would be American made. As Airbus is a company owned by a European based firm, we should know that they will want definintely to hire Europeans to do many of the work involved. What’s to note also is that the importance of these additional jobs is so great that America should carefully consider just who they award the contract to make these planes.
But, let’s analyze a step farther in regards to the question of jobs. Just how many jobs are going to be made? If we’re simply talking five jobs that are made by Boeing or the two jobs made by Airbus (accounting for very arbitrary numbers), there just isn’t really going to be a big difference. But, think of the 44,000 jobs that Boeing said it could create if it gets the contract compared to the 20,000 that Airbus says it will create. That is a 22,000 job difference and this means a lot of potential income that could go into buying more products in America.
Just keep in mind that no matter who gets the contract – Airbus or Boeing, neither company won’t be laying off anyone. Both companies have many different airliners lined up in production and both of them are far behind in how many they’re supposed to manufacture. So, the good news for our country is that whoever gets the contract, there won’t be lesser jobs, but the increase in jobs will be substantial . However with a nation that’s suffering a 4.8% rate of unemployment (meaning more than 14 million workers are presently not employed), what difference then does 20,000+ jobs would do? These are still considered jobs. Whether there are five jobs created or five hundred thousand, a job is a job and that will surely help the economy.
And, of course, we shouldn’t forget a very important fact, that we are contracting a non-American entity to create equipment for the US military. The truth is, we are saying, “yes folks, it is alright for America to pay other nations to design and build our weapons.” Can’t we think this is a grave national security threat? Are we really getting the best weapons or will we get lower quality equipment that will only put our military personnel at risk?
Europe is an ally and friend of ours, we can’t deny that fact, but one big concern now is the precedence this particular situation sets. We are telling people that we want foreign nations to compete with American companies for jobs and contracts for the government, and if they can give a much better deal than our American companies, our government will gladly give them these jobs. It is very obvious that this will just hurt the current American economy even more.
As one nation that is very dependent on their military, this is where we can’t afford cost cutting for we lower grade weaponry. We can’t just afford the risk simply because the lowest cost is the best option. With the nation going from a consolidating the military from the 90s to becoming a war nation in the 21st century, America now is trying its best to catch up. We know the jobs that are created from military contracts are really significant, but how critical is it to the United States to keep these jobs in the United States? Can our economy afford more jobs going over to foreign countries? Of course not. These jobs are needed in the country. Thousands of jobs are a great amount of jobs that will boost up the economy. We want all these aviation jobs in the USA to stay here.
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