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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The View from the Heartland: Encouraging Perspective from Kansas - "Job Shortages" + Aircraft Demand and FLY Leasing

Certain states, such as Kansas, have seen significant improvement in (un)employment levels and are now seeing "job shortages" - from CNBC on Monday:
  • Mark Parkinson, Democratic governor of Kansas, discusses the reasons his state's economy is doing better than most, with CNBC.

Mr. Parkinson's positive update is yet another example that not all is doom and gloom. Also, interesting sidebar: we were unaware that the state's largest employment sector is aircraft manufacturing, beating out the number two and three sectors, agriculture and energy. Note that the governor stated that aircraft sector is now stable and that the other areas are again hiring, with "job shortages" in some areas.

Although we're not sure of Kansas' position in the aviation supply chain (possibly slanted toward smaller aircraft based on Mr. Parkinson's commentary), we do know that Boeing (BA) can't make enough jets at present and plans to increase production. From Aviation International News last May (emphasis added in third bullet):
  • Boeing will move ahead with plans to increase the production rate on the 737 program from 31.5 to 34 airplanes a month in early 2012, the company announced this week. Boeing also said it continues to study the possibility of further rate increases, given strong customer demand for the single-aisle airliners.
  • “The global economy continues to recover this year and we believe that airlines will return to profitability in 2011,” said Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' vice president of marketing. “We believe that there will be increased demand for airplanes-especially in the market served by the Next Generation 737-in 2012 and beyond.”
  • The company holds unfilled orders for more than 2,000 of the single-aisle workhorses. At 34 airplanes a month, the new rate accounts for some five years of production.
This is part of the reason we own Fly Leasing (FLY), which continues to trade at a meaningful discount to net tangible book value even with ample demand for new and used aircraft (see link for interview with CEO Colm Barrington). Fly's fleet of 62 aircraft is 86% "narrowbody" with an average age of 7.5 years.

Happy investing,

Jeffrey Walkenhorst

Disclosure: long FLY.

© 2010 Jeffrey Walkenhorst
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