WHEELS UP: Alabama’s aerospace industry continues soaring to new heights
Alabama’s aerospace industry is soaring to new heights.
With Airbus ramping up passenger jet production in Mobile and companies such as GE Aviation and UTC Aerospace Systems expanding their presence in the state, Alabama is primed for growth in the sector.
“Alabama has a long history in aerospace and aviation, but the future for this industry in our state looks brighter than ever as Airbus’ manufacturing operation scales up and a series of new projects come to fruition,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“Alabama’s aerospace industry is richly diverse, with activities covering the spectrum from research and development to final assembly,” he added. “We’ve got it all.”
To help tell the growth story to global industry leaders, Commerce is rolling out a new video that focuses on the pivotal developments that are propelling Alabama’s aerospace sector forward.
The video is making its debut as aerospace and defense leaders converge on the Farnborough International Airshow, an iconic global trade event that’s the scene of multibillion-dollar aircraft deals and top-secret business talks.
Beginning July 11, Commerce’s video will be on display at the “Made In Alabama” booth in the U.S. Pavilion at Farnborough. The booth will be the home base for Alabama’s air show delegation, which is being led by Gov. Robert Bentley.
Center of gravity
Since the Paris Air Show in June 2015, Alabama’s aerospace cluster has seen a steady flow of announcements outlining new facilities and expansions, many of them tied to Airbus’ $600 million A320 family assembly line at the Mobile Aeroplex.
Aerospace projects announced last year for Mobile Aeroplex alone involved $56 million in investment and a projected 300 jobs, according to Commerce’s 2015 New & Expanding Industry Report. Panasonic Avionics and Zodiac Aerospace are among those that have announced projects at the Aeroplex during 2016.
A significant new aerospace project not tied to the Airbus assembly line is GE Aviation’s plan to open $200 million adjacent factories in Huntsville to produce materials for a new generation of ultra-lightweight jet engine components.
GE Aviation introduced additive manufacturing – also called 3-D printing – to fabricate jet engine fuel nozzles at a plant in Auburn. The project was announced at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow.
“GE Aviation’s unique materials factories in Huntsville, along with its additive manufacturing center in Auburn, promise to revolutionize how jet engines are made,” Canfield said. “At the same time, these projects strengthen Alabama’s aerospace and aviation sector, positioning us for new investment and job creation.”