07/08/2012 06:26 EDT | Updated 09/07/2012 05:12 EDT

BCIT to cash in on airplane sales projections

The B.C. Institute of Technology's aerospace program is riding along with the rosy future predicted for the airline industry.

This week, Seattle-based Boeing predicted up to 34,000 new jets worth an estimated $4.5 trillion US will be built over the next 20 years to help meet global demand.

BCIT associate dean Gordon Turner says an aging fleet and workforce is driving demand in Europe and North America — but in Asia, it's an entirely different matter.

"Over in Asia, they are just propelled by growth," he said. "They are building airports, they are bringing on aircraft and they need the technicians. And so its just 100 per cent growth there and they need the people."

Turner says the greatest demand is for graduates in electronic and avionics maintenance.

"That program produces technicians which are snapped up pretty quickly and are currently in good demand," he said. "Also in our gas turbine graduates, they are actually recruited before they finish the nine-month program."

Turner says the demand for aircraft manufacturers like Boeing is a positive for them because all those new jets will need pilots, engineers and technicians.

BCIT offers five different aerospace programs, including pilot training and airport operations, to about 400 students at its campus next to Vancouver International Airport.

Turner says their grads end up across the globe, from Brazil to the Arctic and everywhere in between.