Two aerospace advocacy groups in the state have merged

EVERETT — Two of the state’s leading aerospace advocacy groups — the Aerospace Futures Alliance and the Washington Aerospace Partnership — have merged.

The new group retains the name Aerospace Futures Alliance, the more active of the two entities. The merger follows more than a year of discussions between the two sides.

“There are several aerospace industry associations in Washington,” said Kelly Maloney, who has stayed on as the alliance’s president.

The merger streamlines the advocacy done by the two groups and enhances its support for aerospace businesses, she said.

“Our primary mission is still advocating on behalf of everything aerospace in Washington,” including airlines, airports, drones, and airplane makers and their suppliers, Maloney said.

“We want to make sure that Washington has a favorable business climate,” she said.

Generally, it does, but there are things the alliance wants to improve, including taxpayer support for worker training and education, she said.

The alliance plans to expand networking events for members and continue working to keep and grow existing businesses, as well as attracting new ones to the area.

The merger comes as the group launches a magazine, Lift, aimed at aerospace industry insiders. The publication is meant to inform readers about how local, national and global trends and developments affect Washington’s aerospace sector.

The group is working to get the first edition out before its annual Aerospace Day, which brings industry leaders together with state lawmakers at the State Capitol in Olympia, on Feb. 21. However, the magazine may go to print a few days after then, Maloney said.

Lift is launching with a run of 1,000 copies. By the end of the year, Maloney said she wants to be up to about 2,500.

The alliance was formed in 2006 and now represents more than 1,400 aerospace companies. Its highest-profile work is in advocating for the industry with lawmakers in Olympia.

The Washington Aerospace Partnership was created in 2009 as a collaboration between state and local government, industry and organized labor. In 2013, it led the charge to land Boeing’s new jetliner, the 777X.

Boeing did place 777X final assembly and production of its industry-leading composite material wings in Everett. However, the decision came after the state passed a generous tax break package and Machinists union members at Boeing approved a concession-laden contract.

The process of landing the 777X left a bitter taste with many on the labor side, who criticized elected officials and industry representatives for pressuring union members to take Boeing’s contract offer.

Since then, labor largely had left the Washington Aerospace Partnership. None of its board members represent organized labor.

The merger leaves labor without a voice on any of the industry advocacy groups.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454;; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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