Boeing, Airbus suppliers face call to control costs

Demand for commercial airplane production is expected to grow in coming years, but the big players — the Boeing Co. and Airbus — are demanding suppliers cut costs.

The Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance is taking a hard look at the challenges aerospace suppliers face during its 13th annual Aerospace Conference in February.

Top industry analysts and executives will offer their thoughts and forecasts for the industry at this year’s conference, which is scheduled for Feb. 4-6 in Lynnwood.

Speakers include executives from Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer, Rolls Royce, GE and Pratt &Whitney, and industry experts such as Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group and Scott Hamilton of the Leeham Co.

Several sessions will look at what’s ahead for the military and civil aviation markets. Other sessions will unpack the supply chain to help companies better understand where their products fit in the overall picture. For example, Kent Fisher, a vice-president with Boeing Commercial Airplanes, is set to talk about how passengers’ desire for cheap tickets is pushing the airplane producer to control its costs.

While the conference draws people from around the globe, it is especially important for companies in Washington, which has one of the country’s most advanced and most productive aerospace industry clusters.

In 2012, Washington had about 95,000 aerospace jobs and another 38,000 related to the industry, according to a study released last month by the Washington Aerospace Partnership.

More than 50,000 of those jobs are located in Snohomish County, mostly at Boeing’s Everett plant, according to the study.

The conference is the largest of its kind on the West Coast, according to a news release from the non-profit PNAA.

Last year’s conference had 434 attendees representing 270 businesses from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

For more information, go to PNAA’s website at www.pnaa.net.

Dan Catchpole: dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; 425-339-5090.

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