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Expansion plan

The idea of three-axis control led the Wright brothers to develop a flying machine capable of controlled, powered and sustained flight. Through teamwork and innovation, their flight on December 17, 1903 gave birth to the aviation industry. More than a century later, our global skies bustle with an average of 10,000 aircraft and millions of passengers each day. And millions of people work in the industry to make those flights possible.

The story of aviation is ultimately a story of how passion, innovation and teamwork have led to globalization. During the dawn of aviation, no one spoke of globalization in the modern sense. The term came about after World War II with the establishment of the United Nations and its mission to bolster international relations. In 1947, ICAO was launched to advance international air transport.

As aviation continues to accelerate globalization, the demand for aircraft, parts, services and infrastructure continues to increase for both general aviation and commercial operations. However, many countries do not have the support infrastructure required to meet this growing demand. This has resulted in growth opportunities all over the world for GA businesses in manufacturing, development, services and support.

Global markets are constantly shifting, up one year and down the next. If a GA company is to remain viable and competitive, it must adapt and diversify. Having all its resources in one country or economy is dangerous to financial growth. When the US economy crashed in 2008, many American companies – not well diversified – found themselves behind the curve. In desperation, they looked for sales in other countries – countries previously unimportant to them. Attempting to grow from behind is not a strong expansion strategy. GA companies who position themselves on the leading edge by diversifying across global markets are in a better position to experience growth, even when one market slows or retracts. 

Creating an expansion plan
Expanding across borders requires extensive planning, professional insight and experience in global markets.
The following elements provide a blueprint for what’s required. This list is not all-inclusive, but rather an outline to begin plotting the expansion process:

• Strategic planning: Expansion across borders requires an examination into a multitude of unique criteria such as import/export restrictions, cultures, customs, climates, taxes, regulatory processes and language barriers, to name a few.
• Market analysis: The market analysis begins with a clear understanding of
the need a company is trying to solve.
A solid market analysis will answer dozens of questions about the economy, culture, products and services in the country of interest.
• Sales and marketing plans: Once a market is identified, the next steps are to develop the business plan, a case for investment, an implementation work plan, timelines, tasks and key milestones.
• Selling channels: Sales channels can include a company sales force, internet marketing, wholesalers, distributors and telemarketers. In GA, cycles are generally long, so it’s essential to choose full-circle sales channels and then build a marketing strategy around them.
• Finding qualified dealers: When entering a new market with limited contacts or core assets to leverage, it is best to work with an experienced aviation consulting firm with connections to qualified dealers in the target country.
• International advertising and promotion campaigns: Language barriers, customs, cultures, laws and regulations differ from country to country, making marketing and communication challenging. Before moving into foreign markets, it’s essential to understand the marketing strategies that appropriately reflect the new market culture and customs.

With growth in aviation forecast across emerging nations, there exists a gold mine for GA companies prepared to join the jet stream. Before proceeding, be sure to understand the key elements required and seek guidance from someone who has experience expanding into new markets. 


About the author
Tim Archer is a 40-year veteran of the general aviation industry and founder of Blue Sky Innovations Group. He has worked in more than 50 countries doing general aviation international business development, sales and marketing, manufacturing management and acquisition due diligence. This article is a summary of Blue Sky Innovations’ eBook A blueprint for global expansion: A 40,000ft view of the process required to expand your general aviation business across borders written by Archer and his colleague Ana Fontes




This article was originally published in the July 2016 issue of Business Airport International.

July 12, 2016



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