11 Feb 02. State-owned Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) said on Monday its new contracts rose 11 percent to a record $2.88bn in 2001, boosted by orders for business jets, satellites and unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. “Despite the fact that the year 2001 was complicated because of what happened on the international aviation and aerospace arena and despite the economic strains and security hardships in Israel, we met our marketing goals,” IAI President and Chief Executive Moshe Keret said in a statement.“While we can’t predict with certainty when the world slowdown — especially in the commercial aviation field — will end, we believe there will be constant growth in our business.”IAI last year sold its Astra and Galaxy business jets venture –jointly owned by IAI and Hyatt Corp — to General Dynamics Corp (NYSE:GD – news) for $330m in cash, but the executive jets will continue to be assembled by IAI in Israel.A company spokesman said IAI and Hyatt may receive another $315m in additional payments based on future sales.The spokesman said other strong areas for the company last year included sales of communications satellites amd unmanned aerial vehicles.Keret said the company moved closer to meeting its goal of balancing sales between military and commercial programmes.IAI’s exports grew 3.9 percent last year to $2.195bn. New contracts for commercial exports in 2001 totalled $1.34 billion, accounting for 61 percent of total exports.New contracts in the local market rose to $689m in 2001 from $483m in 2000. Local market contracts accounted for 24 percent of total new contracts last year. IAI’s backlog of orders now stands at $3.8bn(2000:$3.3bn).