By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
Gov. Chris Gregoire wrapped up her final visit to the Farnborough International Airshow as Washington’s leader on Tuesday, deeming her mission to increase the state’s aerospace industry a success.
“Aerospace continues to be a bright spot in our economic recovery,” Gregoire said in a statement issued from England. “And I want to ensure this critical industry succeeds and grows here long after my time in the governor’s office.”
Gregoire will finish out her trade mission Wednesday in London, where she’ll highlight Washington’s automotive technology industry. The Farnborough air show continues through Sunday. The event draws major jetmakers including the Boeing Co., Airbus and Embraer, their suppliers and airline customers.
“Over the last two days, my staff and I have participated in nearly two dozen meetings with more than 50 aerospace company executives,” Gregoire said. “I’m pleased with the discussions we’ve had — and like past years, I am confident they will lead to future job growth in our state.”
Gregoire also was on hand for the signing of an agreement between Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance and Aero Montreal, Quebec’s aerospace cluster. Jetmaker Bombardier is based there. The agreement allows the organizations to exchange information, to study the supply chains to help regional aerospace clusters to better leverage core competencies, to provide support for research projects.
“The businesses of both of our clusters will be better able to share ideas and business opportunities” with this agreement, said Kevin Steck, PNAA chairman.
On Monday, Gregoire announced a number of agreements that will benefit Washington and add as many as 175 aerospace jobs in Snohomish County.
Washington isn’t the only state with a political contingent at the air show trying to pick up more aerospace business.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley didn’t have any deals to announce Tuesday. But “South Carolina continues to be the buzz because of Boeing,” Haley told the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Boeing has a second 787 assembly line in North Charleston; the original line is in Everett. CEOs are “talking about the fact that South Carolina is the new ‘it’ state,” she said.
Another southern state making waves at Farnborough is Alabama, where Airbus recently announced plans to locate an A320 assembly plant in Mobile.
Mobile Mayor Sam Jones, who is at the air show, told an Alabama TV station that he thinks the region could land more aerospace companies to support Airbus in the near future.
“We think we have the opportunity to land some other prospects in a very, very short period of time,” he said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott met on Monday with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the air show to discuss the importance of the aerospace sector to their respective economies. The two talked about “their efforts to implement policies that create aerospace sector jobs in the UK and Florida,” according to Scott’s press release.
Herald reporter Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454 or email@example.com.