Aerospace Sector

An Alaska Airline plane taking off from Sea-Tac International airport with Mt. Rainier in the background

Governor Inslee’s top priority is to create an economic climate where innovation and entrepreneurship can continue to thrive and create well-paying jobs in every corner of our state.

Washington’s aerospace industry fuels jobs for thousands of families and travel for billions of passengers each year. In addition to the world headquarters for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Washington is home to 1,400 aerospace-related business establishments that design and manufacture products ranging from seats and fasteners to in-flight entertainment systems. There is at least one aerospace-related company in 35 of Washington’s 39 counties.

Our public research institutions and private firms are also leading the world in the advancement of new technologies, as well, including advanced materials, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aviation biofuels and space exploration.

How we define Washington's Aerospace sector:

  • Commercial/Military Airplanes and Rotorcraft
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Systems
  • Space Exploration
  • Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO)
  • Aviation Biofuel
  • Air Travel and Cargo

    Impacts of the industry in Washington in 2015:

  • The aerospace industry generated $69.9 billion in economic activity throughout the state of Washington.
  • Since 2004, the industry has supported $4 billion in state revenues.
  • The aerospace industry* provided 136,100 jobs at 1,400 establishments across the state.
  • 59.8% of Washington’s foreign exports come from aerospace companies.
  • Wages for the industry* as a whole totaled $10.1 billion.
    Download the 2016 Washington State Aerospace Economic Impacts Update

    What’s next for Washington's Aerospace sector?

    Top 3 areas of focus:

  • Work with The Boeing Company and its supply chain to ensure a smooth roll-out and ramp up of the 737 MAX and 777X
  • Capitalize on the decision to build the 777X and its carbon fiber wing in Washington by helping local companies expand and attract new companies to the state.
  • Diversify the industry by supporting emergent sub-sectors of the industry, including UAV/UAS, space exploration, MRO and aviation biofuel
    Are you interested in business opportunities in the Aerospace sector? Visit to learn more.

    Key Sectors

    Sector Strategy

    Communication and coordination

    Located in the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness, the Aerospace Sector Lead is charged with implementing these initiatives and coordinating a “support chain” to grow our aerospace industry. It develops, maintains and coordinates the execution of the Washington State Aerospace Strategy with the help of the following entities:

    Washington Aerospace & Advanced Materials Manufacturing Workforce Pipeline Committee

    Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation

    Washington Aerospace Partnership

    The Office of Aerospace is a public/private partnership funded in part by the Washington Aerospace Partnership.

    Aerospace Sector Email Updates
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    John Thornquist

    Director, Office of Aerospace

    John serves as the Director of the Aerospace sector, appointed to the role by Governor Jay Inslee. As director, John serves as the principal adviser on aerospace-related issues and coordinates activities to promote growth of the industry throughout the state. Before joining Commerce, John served as CEO of Carbon Aerospace, an Everett-based aerospace firm, and co-founded Global Aerospace Systems, which later became Kaman Engineering Services. Under his leadership, Kaman was named Boeing Supplier of the Year. John brings nearly three decades of experience in aerospace to his role as director of the state’s aerospace sector. A lifelong Washington resident, he earned his MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business and graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in mechanical engineering.

    Need Help?

    John Thornquist
    Director, Office of Aerospace
    Phone: 206-256-6103