Trade delegation promotes “Century of Know-How” at Farnborough Airshow

An Alaska Airline plane taking off from Sea-Tac International airport with Mt. Rainier in the backgroundWashington state’s powerful aerospace sector has 1,350 companies, over 132,000 workers, built 95 percent of all commercial aircraft produced in North America last year, and accounted for $76 billion in sales

OLYMPIA, WA – A dozen Washington companies and eight partner organizations are preparing to celebrate a “Century of Know-How” in Washington State aerospace at the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow, one of the world’s largest airshows, July 11-13 in Hampshire, England. Washington’s 39-member delegation will join an estimated 1500 exhibitors hosted in a record 22 international pavilions this year. Boeing will have a special pavilion celebrating their centennial year.

“We are especially proud to join the rest of the world in celebrating Boeing’s 100th birthday, which also marks the birth of Washington state’s powerful aerospace industry,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Not only have we set the pace for innovation here, we continue to set the pace for production, thanks to 132,500 men and women who make up the finest aerospace workforce in the world.”

Last year, 95 percent of all the commercial aircraft produced in North America were built in Washington. The state has 1,350 aerospace related companies providing every major manufacturer and airline in the world with machinery, parts, avionics, components, structures, interiors and services. Washington workers produce 1,400 new planes and unmanned aerial system vehicles annually.
A Washington-built Boeing 737 takes off or lands somewhere in the world every 2.2 seconds.

“Accounting for 11 percent of all wages and $76 billion in sales, the impact of our aerospace industry extends well beyond the Puget Sound region,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “Aerospace–related firms are strengthening communities all over the state by providing good jobs in 35 of our 39 counties.”

On the east side of the mountains, Spokane’s growing aerospace cluster is second only to the Seattle metro area; Grant County hosts flight testing of the new Mitsubishi MRJ in the center of the state; and a well-known UAV cluster is located along the Columbia River in southwest Washington, he added.

“The Farnborough International Airshow, alternating every other year with the Paris Air Show, is a critical opportunity for Washington state companies to meet and do business with the world’s leading aerospace companies, investors and potential partners,” said John Thornquist, Director of the Washington State Office of Aerospace and industry sector lead for Governor Inslee. “Our delegation members logged $7.2 million in sales as a direct result of their activities at the last two shows, and we are aiming to surpass 2014 performance this year.”

Ten companies are using export assistance vouchers provided by Commerce to offset the cost of their participation.

“We have been successful at each show we have attended with the support of the Commerce team,” said Bill Bigot, VP, Business Development, Nova-Tech Engineering. “In addition to the voucher program helping with some of the cost, I like that they work the logistics for hotels, transportation and provide a reception on behalf of the Washington companies. It’s support and promotion like that which allows me to focus on the customers and business meetings.”
Washington’s aerospace, tech and advanced manufacturing workforces are coveted worldwide. State investments and public-private partnerships continue to bolster an already powerful competitive advantage. Recent highlights include: $8 million per year pledged to fund 1,000 additional seats in high-demand programs; $2 million to establish a carbon fiber wing fabrication training program at the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center; and $12.5 million to fund development of the Central Aerospace Training Center near the 737 plant in Renton. Commerce also supports customized training designed to meet the specific needs of aerospace companies through the Washington Work Start program.

Twenty-four of 34 Washington community and technical colleges offer aerospace training programs. Recently the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing at Everett Community College was awarded a $3.8 million White House TechHire Partnership Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Exhibitors in the Washington State Pavilion hosted by Commerce are: Industrial Machine Tools, National Precision Bearing, Nova-Tech Engineering, Orion Aerospace, Seacast, Silicon Forest Electronics, Tallamond and Tool Gauge. Delegates are BRPH, Pacific Tool, Norfil, Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing, e3 Elite Engineering Services, Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County, Greater Spokane, Inc., Kitsap Aerospace and Defense Alliance, Port of Bremerton, Snohomish County-Paine Field, Snohomish County. Additional sponsors are the Washington Aerospace Partnership and Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Follow the Farnborough Airshow Washington delegation on twitter @WAStateCommerce, #FAS2016,@FIAFarnborough, @WashAero.

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