Growth expected in commercial aerospace

WARREN – Forecasted growth in the commercial aerospace industry presents opportunities for local businesses to expand in the fast-growing sector, says an industry consultant.

So, the ”time is now” for business to secure a future in aerospace space expansion and become part of the supply chain, said Michael Skorija, founder of Supply Chain and Operational Resources, a Warren-based company that provides the ”conduit” between manufacturers and suppliers.

”The demand is here, it’s not speculative and it’s happening right now,” Skorija said.

Skorija, who most recently worked as the global supply chain director for RTI International Metals, spoke Wednesday at an aerospace development event put on by the Warren Business Exchange.

”In a nutshell, the timing is right for companies in the Mahoning Valley and Ohio to get into aerospace supply chains,” Skorija said.

The expected surge in aircraft production will be driven by airlines replacing aging planes and expanding their fleets, in part, to accommodate growing travel internationally. It’s expected the airlines will need 27,000 more planes in the next 15 years.

”Even in this economic situation, air travel continues to grow. With that air travel continuing to grow, you have airlines meeting maximum flight hours, so they (planes) need to be replaced,” Skorija said.

The projected growth could also provide opportunities for industry not already in business of aerospace, Skorija said.

”Supplies with capabilities in similar types of industries can transition over to aerospace requirements and help stabilize their overall business profiles,” Skorija said.

Mark Marini, vice president of sales for Howland-based Flex Strut, which makes rolled metal framing channels used for a number of applications, said the company doesn’t deal much in the aerospace industry, but wants to be aware of opportunities in the field.

Other companies that attended included Alcoa, Valley Electrical Consolidated, Delphi and Seco Tools.