Korea Aerospace Industries has placed in 56th position this year, up from 63rd in the last top 100 ranking. The company's advance was due to operating profits of $106 million in 2010, compared with $44 million in 2009.

Korea's dominant aerospace player attributes its strong operating numbers to a number of factors. Foremost among these is increased revenue from full-scale production of the T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer and its T/A-50 attack variant, as well as production of the KT-1T basic trainer for the Turkish Air Force.

The company said these programmes helped revenue grow to $1 billion in 2010 from $954 million in 2009.

"KAI has continuously tried to improve the management of our business since the company's founding in 2000," says KAI. "We believe our efforts have started to pay off, leading to lower production costs as well as an increase in production efficiency."

KAI T-50 Golden Eagle
 © KAI
KAI's T-50 Golden Eagle is bringing in a strong revenue stream for the Korean Company

In the coming years KAI hopes to place a greater emphasis on producing systems for commercial aircraft. The company is involved in both the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 programmes. It produces the wing rib for the A350, and the wing box for the 787.

"Currently the ratio of production of military to civilian projects is 60-40, but we hope to change this to 50-50 in the near future," says KAI.

In 2011 the company has scored a major coup with the first international sale of the T-50, with Indonesia committing to 16 aircraft. The type is also involved in competitions in Poland and Israel. The aircraft, which was co-developed with Lockheed Martin, will be a contender in the USA T-X competition to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon.

Long term, the company says the market for AJTs is 3,300 over the next 20 years, and it hopes to get 30% share of this.


  • Top 100 rank - 56
  • HQ - Seoul, South Korea
  • Aero revenues - $1,112m
  • Sales growth - 16.6%
  • Operating margin - 9.5%
  • ROCE - 12.6%
  • Employees - 2,950
  • CEO - Kim Hong-Kyung

Source: Flight International