Tech Investing 2014: The Hidden Profit Opportunity in Canceled Flights

[Editor's Note: This inside look at a tech investing opportunity that offers broad access to the lucrative aerospace and defense sector was first published Feb. 19 in Michael A. Robinson's Strategic Tech Investor. To get all of Robinson's research as soon as it's released, click here.]

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We all know what a lousy winter this has been. So if you've been doing any traveling, I'm hoping you haven't been victimized by one of the 75,000 commercial flights that the nation's airline industry has scrubbed since Dec. 1.

That's the industry's worst showing in 25 years, says The Associated Press.

As a frequent flier myself (I rack up some serious travel miles jetting from one CEO meeting to another, and then onto one of my media appearances on CNBC or FOX Business), I feel real empathy for those of you who've been stranded in a cold, uncomfortable airport terminal.

But when I saw these statistics, I knew there was a bigger story at play here – a story with the kind of financial heft that spells profits for investors who are savvy enough to zero in. Because this story has yet to hit Wall Street's radar screen, you have the chance to score major outsized profits.

And today,we're going to tell you all about this tech investing "foundational play"…

Flying the Friendly (Crowded) Skies

The world's aviation sector is experiencing one of the greatest booms in the 110-year history of flight. Indeed, the fact that we've seen so many flight cancelations in recent months gives you an idea of how many flights are actually on the schedule.

There's just no question that the world's skies are getting a lot more crowded.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) - a trade group that represents 240 airlines – says the 5.2% increase in global demand last year was part of a long-term trend it labels as "historic growth."

The IATA didn't disclose the actual number of flights or total number of passenger miles flown. But it did say that every major region in the world saw an increase in flights in 2013.

And the skies are destined to get even more crowded.

Here in the United States, for instance, passenger traffic is projected to soar 50% in the next 10 years – zooming from 750 million today to 1.2 billion, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in its latest forecast.

No wonder there's so much demand for new commercial jet airliners.

A Flying "Ecosystem"

Look at what's happening with the U.S.-based Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) and Europe's Airbus Group (OTCMKTS: EADSY). Together these industry giants now have a backlog totaling 10,000 aircraft. At current production rates, the two companies say it will take roughly eight years to build all those jets.

And that doesn't count the new orders the companies expect to get each year.

For tech investors, this represents the kind of substantive trend that can generate long-term profits. And unlike other, more-esoteric tech investing opportunities, the aviation book is easy to see and understand.

That's because so-called "Jumbo Jets" – the backbone of most global carrier fleets – are like aerial high-tech ecosystems.

We're talking about such diverse bits of technology as avionics, onboard computers, semiconductors, sensors, digital radar, communications systems, and flight-control units – all made to work together and then wrapped in a flyable cocoon constructed of such "Miracle Materials" as advanced composites or new forms of aluminum.

That's quite an investment menu – meaning we have a broad array of stocks to choose from. That makes for some tough choices.

But there's one profit play that gives us access to all those options – all at once.

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About the Author

Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.

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