Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan predicts continued growth in Michigan’s aerospace industry

ROCHESTER, MICHIGAN, SEPTEMBER 28, 2021– As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease, air travel is trending back to pre-pandemic levels, according to reports from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and shared by the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan (AIAM).

Recent TSA’s checkpoint data reveals, over 2.1 million travelers took flight in the last days of June. This is compared to the 2.6 million who traveled via air during the same time in 2019, in a pre-COVID-19 world. The 2021 numbers reflect a comeback of over 80% since travel restrictions were implemented in 2020.

“It’s encouraging to get beyond the pandemic and watch as confidence returns in air travel,” said Tony Vernaci, Founder and President of AIAM. “As this trust in air travel grows, Michigan continues to be poised as one of the largest Midwest contributors to the aerospace industry.”

AIAM not only predicts air travel will continue to rebound but the industry will experience an overall expansion when advanced air mobility through drones and the commercialization of space is considered. According to European-based OEM Airbus, for nearly 5 decades air travel has proven to double every 15 years despite major worldwide economic factors including the oil crisis of the 1970s, the gulf war, 9/11, SARS, and the global economic crisis of 2008.

The return of the industry is great news for the state of Michigan and the United States’ economy. AIAM believes the pre-COVID, 20-year forecast by Boeing and Airbus will once again become a reality. These forecasts indicated a demand for 39,000-42,000 new commercial aircraft over the period valued at 6.3 – 6.5 trillion dollars. Roughly 65% is in the supply base and Michigan is the supply chain which suggests a significant opportunity for companies in our state.

“Michigan’s presence in the aerospace industry was strong and growing at an accelerated rate even before the pandemic,” said AIAM Board Member, Jeff Simek. “With the pandemic restrictions lifting, we are experiencing the same attention and excitement surrounding the industry.”

With the comeback of air travel, AIAM has also resumed in-person events. In early August the organization hosted its first Industry Luncheon of the year at the Spirit Airlines hangar, the “Spirit of Detroit” at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. Attendees heard from Spirit’s senior leaders as they provided an overview of what it took to manage the airline through COVID and their return to an expanded schedule along with a steady introduction of new aircraft into the fleet. The day concluded with a tour of the hangar and boarding a brand-new Airbus a320neo where components manufactured by multiple AIAM member companies were observed by everyone.

AIAM is excited to announce our Aerospace Technology Expo, which will be held at Grand Valley State University in downtown Grand Rapids on November 3rd. The exhibit floor will feature companies showcasing technology that is changing the industry. The expo will wrap up with a premium business networking reception, giving attendees an opportunity to enjoy food and refreshments as they stroll through the expo floor to engage with aerospace executives and AIAM board members from leading global companies in a casual setting. Visit AIAM’s website at to learn more about upcoming events, the association, and Michigan’s robust footprint in the aerospace industry.