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When you think of the global travel industry, investments in research and development isn’t the first think that comes to mind. That’s of course if you only consider the consumer brands as all of the travel industry.

The 2013 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard is an annual ranking of companies that spend the most in R&D across all major sectors worldwide. Along with the top EU list, commissioned by European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation and Joint Research Centre, there is a global 2000 list of top companies as ranked by their spend in R&D in 2012.

In this global 2000 list are a number of travel-related companies, and we decided to separate them out and take a look. Most of the names on the list, below, are giant conglomerates in the aerospace, aviation manufacturing and defense sector, most of which you may not ever have heard of. These giants have multiple tentacles in the airlines industry, though tough to separate where commercial aviation ends and defense industry starts.

The only household name in aerospace in this list is Boeing, the second biggest R&D spender in the travel industry. Then there’s the airline industry software giant Amadeus, the largest software R&D spender in travel, at around $605 million in 2012, and its investment has been rising at a rapid pace over the last three years.

Among the consumer brands, Expedia tops the list, with a surprisingly high R&D budget in 2012 of over $385 million., another consumer online travel brand from China, is also high with an R&D spend of about $151 million and one of the fastest growing R&D budgets over last three years; and Homeaway, the only other consumer online travel brand on the list, coming in at around $51 million spend in 2012.

Concur is the only business travel company on the list, spending about $47 million on R&D in 2012, up a good 30 percent over 2011.

Some others below are transport companies, the two Japanese rail operating companies Central Japan Railway and East Japan Railway. Lastly, on the list are some “leisure” companies focused on online casino and gaming software and hardware, some parts of which would qualify as travel industry, some would not.

Rank in TravelWorld RankNameCountryIndustrial sectorR&D 2012 (€million)R&D 1 year growth (%)R&D 3 years growth (CAGR-3y, %)
130EADSThe NetherlandsAerospace & Defence363011.78
254BOEINGUSAAerospace & Defence2252.5-17.1-6.4
361FINMECCANICAItalyAerospace & Defence1812-7.6-2
462UNITED TECHNOLOGIESUSAAerospace & Defence179715.213.3
583BOMBARDIERCanadaAerospace & Defence1317.343.845.7
6100SAFRANFranceAerospace & Defence110931.420.8
7150ROLLS-ROYCEUKAerospace & Defence749.920.68.2
8157THALESFranceAerospace & Defence699.519.31.8
9213LOCKHEED MARTINUSAAerospace & Defence466.95.3-7.7
10223TEXTRONUSAAerospace & Defence442.611.211.7
11224AMADEUSSpainSoftware & Computer Services440.326.721.6
12265DASSAULT AVIATIONFranceAerospace & Defence359.131.314.1
13289SEGA SAMMYJapanTravel & Leisure324.415.3-3.7
14306CENTRAL JAPAN RAILWAYJapanTravel & Leisure296.430.910
15321GENERAL DYNAMICSUSAAerospace & Defence283.50.51.3
16330EXPEDIAUSATravel & Leisure279.624.213.6
17366ROCKWELL COLLINSUSAAerospace & Defence242.5-9.9-4.8
18386ZODIAC AEROSPACEFranceAerospace & Defence222.72317.5
19391EMBRAERBrazilAerospace & Defence217.238.730.7
20434BAE SYSTEMSUKAerospace & Defence189-31-12.3
21456ELBIT SYSTEMSIsraelAerospace & Defence176.9-19.21
22491MTU AERO ENGINESGermanyAerospace & Defence160.7-1.410.1
23527BE AEROSPACEUSAAerospace & Defence145.320.923.2
24543EAST JAPAN RAILWAYJapanTravel & Leisure141.33.5-0.7
25572SAABSwedenAerospace & Defence130.963-2.4
26622IAIIsraelAerospace & Defence118.21.38.5
27628MEGGITTUKAerospace & Defence116.116.711.9
28639KONGSBERG GRUPPENNorwayAerospace & Defence113.515.713.3
29659CTRIP.COM INTERNATIONALChinaTravel & Leisure109.951.643.5
30720TELEDYNE TECHNOLOGIESUSAAerospace & Defence99.729.127.5
31787COBHAMUKAerospace & Defence90.20.1-6.7
32803MOOGUSAAerospace & Defence88.29.43.6
33811WMS INDUSTRIESUSATravel & Leisure86.821.22.6
34813ORBITAL SCIENCESUSAAerospace & Defence86.611.11.3
35832BALLY TECHNOLOGIESUSATravel & Leisure84.215.511.2
36834CAECanadaAerospace & Defence83.94.4
37837BETFAIRUKTravel & Leisure83.6-11.319.8
38851ESTERLINE TECHNOLOGIESUSAAerospace & Defence81.71415.9
39884INDUSTRIA DE TURBO PROPULSORESSpainAerospace & Defence76.9-25.615.4
40915ARISTOCRAT LEISUREAustraliaTravel & Leisure73.1-12-8.1
41920LOTTOMATICAItalyTravel & Leisure72.222.85
42928WEST JAPAN RAILWAYJapanTravel & Leisure71.56.92
43975L-3 COMMUNICATIONSUSAAerospace & Defence66.720.510.7
441024WILLIAMS GRAND PRIXUKTravel & Leisure61.77.312.6
451031DEUTSCHE BAHNGermanyTravel & Leisure6138.656.2
461037SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTIONRussiaAerospace & Defence60.11.743.8
471077NEXTERFranceAerospace & Defence57.3-7.617.2
481091PILATUS AIRCRAFTSwitzerlandAerospace & Defence56.21.518.4
491098ULTRA ELECTRONICSUKAerospace & Defence55.72410.5
501187ALLIANT TECHSYSTEMSUSAAerospace & Defence49-2.6-6.6
511243TRIUMPHUSAAerospace & Defence46.422.331.5
521244TELENAVUSATechnology Hardware & Equipment46.4-13.113.8
531259CURTISS-WRIGHTUSAAerospace & Defence45.3-3.91.4
541345AVIOItalyAerospace & Defence41.215.92.8
551146NOVOMATICAustriaTravel & Leisure51.818.311.7
561457HOMEAWAYUSASoftware & Computer Services37.230.847.5
571543RUAGSwitzerlandAerospace & Defence33.90-36
581545UNIBETMaltaTravel & Leisure33.927.251.3
591566CONCUR TECHNOLOGIESUSASoftware & Computer Services33.225.921.4
601621MTRHong KongTravel & Leisure31.6162.616.2
611653LATECOEREFranceAerospace & Defence30.6-18.211.6
621693CHEMRINGUKAerospace & Defence29.41636.5
631734AEROVIRONMENTUSAAerospace & Defence28.220.114.9
641825SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMSUSAAerospace & Defence25.8-4.5-15.6
651835TRAVELSKY TECHNOLOGYChinaTechnology Hardware & Equipment25.5-44.7-11.6
661965HEICOUSAAerospace & Defence2319.715.6
671973GENCORPUSAAerospace & Defence2310.625.3
Photo Credit: Boeing is one of the heaviest spenders on R&D in all of the travel industry. The Boeing Company / Flickr