Project Management Institute

Aerospace and Defense

Taking Flight

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Paratroopers demonstrate deployment from an Airbus A400M plane.

PHOTO COURTESY OF AIRBUS

Mounting political tensions and a realization by many governments that they need to be on the forefront of emerging technologies are driving an increase in global defense spending. China, for example, saw its 2018 defense budget increase 8.1 percent year over year to US$175 billion, while India experienced a 7.7 percent year-over-year bump in its 2018-19 budget, according to Deloitte's 2019 Global Aerospace and Defense Industry Outlook. For project managers, this means an influx of initiatives in new product development, manufacturing capabilities and next-gen defense equipment.

On the commercial side, consumer travel is expected to climb despite the looming economic uncertainty. The International Air Transport Association predicts that commercial airline passenger numbers worldwide will nearly double between 2018 and 2037, hitting 8.2 billion passengers annually. And a record-breaking 14,000-unit backlog of commercial aircraft, paired with the uncertainty surrounding the grounding of Boeing 737 Max models, means there will be no shortage of manufacturing projects in the near future.

“The signals are positive, with high backlogs for civil aircraft and increasing defense budgets globally,” says Anurag Garg, director, aerospace and defense leader, PMI Global Executive Council member PwC India, New Delhi, India. “This, in turn, leads to a need for more experienced project managers who can keep up with high volumes of work.”

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—Anurag Garg, PwC India, New Delhi, India

At the same time, the cookie-cutter career paths of the past have given way to greater variety. McKinsey researchers found that only 1 out of 10 university graduates from top aerospace engineering programs choose to work at major aerospace companies. As technology rapidly impacts the aerospace and defense sector, project managers have a wider range of choices, from legacy organizations to startups and tech companies looking to integrate everything from commercial drones to defense-informed machine learning into their operations.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

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