Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for the Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group, speaks June 6 at South Seattle College during a news conference to release a study conducted by his company of Washington’s aerospace competitiveness. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for the Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group, speaks June 6 at South Seattle College during a news conference to release a study conducted by his company of Washington’s aerospace competitiveness. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Another study says we’re best state for aerospace commerce

As Boeing plans a new airplane model, state boosters are pleased to have their own data affirmed.

EVERETT — An independent study released this week says Washington is the best place to design and build commercial aircraft in the United States.

It’s the second major study this year to give the state’s aerospace sector a thumbs-up as the Boeing Co. nears a decision on launching a new airplane program — and where to locate final assembly.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers study ranks Washington ahead of Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Colorado. South Carolina, home to Boeing’s only non-Washington commercial airplane assembly line, was ranked 17th.

The fifth annual “manufacturing attractiveness analysis” assigned each state an overall score based on cost, labor, infrastructure, industry, economy and tax policy.

In 2016, the same study ranked Washington 10th. Last year, the state didn’t crack the top 10. But changes this year in how the study analyzes industry, labor, infrastructure and tax policy helped catapult Washington to number one.

The Choose Washington New Middle-Market Airplane Council trumpeted the new study’s findings. The council, an alliance of elected officials and business and union leaders, hopes convince Chicago-based Boeing that the best place to build its next passenger airplane model is Washington.

Boeing’s so-called middle-market airplane, informally dubbed the 797, would fit somewhere between the largest 737 and the smallest 787, filling a niche left by the discontinuation of the Renton-built 757. The Boeing board of directors has not yet given the project a green light, but state leaders have wasted no time in preparing to make a case for building it in Washington.

“This is great news for all of Washington,” said Noel Schulz, co-chair of the NMA Council and a Washington State University professor. “We are in a strong position, and to stay there we must continue to make investments in education, workforce training and in infrastructure.”

In June, the NMA Council touted an report on aerospace competitiveness by the Teal Group of Fairfax, Virginia, paid for by the council. The consulting company’s vice president, Richard Aboulafia, was the report’s primary author. He is one of the world’s top aerospace industry experts.

Both studies are quantitative in scope, meaning their findings are based on numerical public and government data. Neither study tackles murkier, qualitative factors such as labor issues or political climate.

Like the PricewaterhouseCoopers annual report, the Teal Group ranked Washington first in the nation for aerospace development.

Schulz’ NMA Council co-chair, Rick Bender, former president of the Washington State Labor Council, said the latest report validates the contribution of Washington’s aerospace workforce.

“Aerospace companies want to be in Washington because we have the most highly skilled and productive workforce in the industry,” Bender said. “The workforce here is a major advantage to aerospace companies.”

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report noted that Washington is home to more than 1,400 aerospace companies, including Boeing. Last year, Boeing generated $10.3 billion in operating profit, “an industry milestone,” the report said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers also produces an annual review of the aerospace and defense industry.

Janice Podsada;; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Small business relief effort inundated with 850 applications

The economy in and around Everett has struggled amid fallen revenues and uncertainty about the future.

Marysville drivers wait overnight for Chick-fil-A opening

The popular chicken restaurant began serving at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Police plan to guide traffic for days.

‘Hundreds of millions’ in bogus jobless benefits paid out

Washington state has been reported as the top target of a Nigerian fraud ring.

Tulalip Resort Casino and Quil Ceda Creek to open Tuesday

Guests must wear a mask and occupancy is limited, the Tulalip Tribes announced Wednesday.

As Arlington gym closes, a Snohomish barber continues to cut

PA Fitness closed after the state attorney general filed a lawsuit. “We would lose,” a co-owner conceded.

FAA says it will let Boeing employees vouch for plane safety

The agency defended the current system but identified areas for improvement. Some lawmakers disagree.

Fraudsters using local identities for phony jobless claims

The Everett School District, for example, saw about 310 false claims using employees’ personal information.

State sues an Arlington gym for violating stay-home order

“It is my constitutional right to be open,” says a co-owner of PA Fitness. He plans to countersue.

Heavy traffic expected when Chick-fil-A opens in Marysville

The city warns there will likely be delays for days along 88th Street NE. near the new restaurant.

Somers announces $14 million in relief for small businesses

One program will target aerospace companies. The other will focus on service and retail industries.

Paine Field terminal to close for 71 days of ramp repairs

Alaska is down to one departure per day due to the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on travel.

Quarantini time! New state rule allows cocktails to-go

Enjoy a margarita or a Manhattan with lunch or dinner to go. At Buck’s in Everett, you keep the mason jar.