Market leader CAE, no stranger to economic hard times, finds itself in an enviable position to ride out the financial storm. "We've been here 60 years," says Jeff Roberts, CAE Group president, innovation and civil training and services. "We have faced challenges before."

Although Roberts says the year ahead will "present challenges" given the financial difficulties its customers - airlines - are experiencing, the global nature of CAE's reach and its 50/50 split between products and services will help. "Our portfolio and balance give us some opportunity and resilience," he says. "We're distributed in segments of aviation. It's unlikely every sector will feel the pressures in the same way."

Although the backlog for new simulators is healthy from the "robustness" of the most recent airline bull market, Roberts says the "activity level has changed" and that the "ability to keep it sustained on the civil side will be a challenge". However, he expects the service side, which is focused on the installed fleet of aircraft, to hold steady. "Pilots and technicians need to be trained," says Roberts.

Source: Flight International