While flying home from a business trip a few days ago, I ran into a few industry colleagues which led me to think about the vast amount of aviation companies based in the state of Florida. Then I wondered about the level of the aviation industry’s impact on the state of Florida’s commercial and industrial infrastructure. After a little research, I learned that the aviation and aerospace industry has long been a key driver of economic growth in our state, with close to 2,500 aviation companies calling Florida home and employing a large percentage of the population. My company, GA Telesis was founded here in 2002 and has fast become a world leader in the MRO and aviation aftermarket sectors and it alone has over 300 employees based here in Florida. Additionally, industry leaders including Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Embraer, and Pratt & Whitney all have major operations based in Florida. Like GA Telesis, these companies benefit greatly from the business-friendly tax environment, extensive aviation talent pool and global transportation access afforded by twenty commercial airports and over one hundred public use airports. But perhaps, here is the kicker. There are hundreds of MRO facilities, aftermarket suppliers, aviation leasing and finance firms — not to mention two of the nation’s spaceports — located in Florida. One thing’s for sure, the industry’s presence in the state is clearly robust and visible.
What I find especially noteworthy about our industry’s impact on Florida is the fact that it is inextricably linked to almost every other major industry in the state. Next to aviation and aerospace, Florida’s leading industries include tourism, agriculture, and international trade — all of which are facilitated in large by air travel and transportation. Did you know that 80% of the flowers imported into the USA come through Miami; a majority through air transport? Even greater beneficiaries are the food service, travel and hospitality related industries, who benefit to the tune of nearly $200 billion annually. In a state so accommodating to aviation and aerospace, it’s no wonder that some of Florida’s most commonly exported goods are aircraft, aircraft engines and aircraft parts. The aviation and aerospace industry is estimated to account for over $140 billion of the state’s annual GDP, but considering the amount of other industries aviation directly impacted, I would imagine its contribution to be significantly higher. By the way, that $140 billion is greater than the GDP of 2/3 of the world’s countries. Wow!
As the geographical landscape of the aviation industry continues to change and expand globally, Florida remains arguably the world’s premier destination for those looking to make a start in or to grow their aviation business. I wonder just how much of our success as a company can be attributed to the mutually beneficial relationship between the aviation industry and the state of Florida. Last year alone, nearly 100 million passengers boarded airplanes in Florida. Miami alone processed over 44 million passengers. How many hotel rooms, restaurants, rental cars, and shopping dollars were spent resulted from that much traffic? I am not exactly sure, but from what I can gather, tourists spent over $115 billion in Florida last year.
At GA Telesis, we are not only growing our business, but also the Florida commercial aviation industry as a whole. By enabling Florida to be a global hub for trade and commerce, we are setting the groundwork for generations to come. It is no wonder that Florida has grown to become the third largest populated state in the United States. With the boundless amounts of resources, especially labor, Florida has allowed GA Telesis, and companies alike, the global access it needs to successfully lead operations with a reach and market like no other.