Aerospace and Aviation, Made in Alabama
When it comes to aerospace in Alabama, the first thought usually goes to science and engineering, like the stunning advancements coming out of Auburn University’s Department of Aerospace Engineering. Auburn’s cutting-edge engineering faculty and facilities don’t just produce innovations currently in use in space exploration, air transportation and national defense. They also develop the brilliant minds that will fuel aerospace in the future. Read more about why Auburn is an attractive destination for the aerospace industry.
But it isn’t just Auburn’s education and space science. The entire state of Alabama is a hub for the aerospace industry, from rocket propulsion to more earthbound military and commercial research, engineering, manufacturing and piloting activity. At this week’s International Paris Air Show, HPM’s team is meeting with representatives from aerospace and industry-related companies interested in taking advantage of the options and opportunities available in the state of Alabama.
In Decatur, United Launch Alliance is producing Atlas V and Delta IV rockets to put satellites in orbit. In Auburn, GE Aviation is launching mass production of its first 3-D printed jet engine component. In Huntsville, WestWind Technologies is repairing and upgrading aircraft for our nation’s defense. All across the state, students are earning degrees in aviation, aircraft maintenance and aerospace engineering. Overall, more than 300 aerospace companies from 30 countries have chosen Alabama, resulting in more than 60,000 jobs and pushing Alabama into the top five states for aerospace engineers. Last year, more than $1.4 billion in aerospace equipment and parts were exported from Alabama.
HPM was proud to help one of the aerospace industry’s international giants to come to Alabama with its first U.S. manufacturing facility. Airbus’s Final Assembly Line (FAL), which broke ground at Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex in 2013, didn’t just bring $600 million into the local economy during the construction process — it also resulted in 360 permanent positions for skilled workers within the facility, with plans for future growth that will ultimately make room for 740 more.
On top of that is the growing competition among Southeastern states to entice parts suppliers to come and take advantage of this new source of demand within the industry. Airbus predicts that once the new facility gets fully up to speed — it’s expected to reach and exceed “Rate 4,” or four A320 jets per month, in 2017 — the total economic impact will produce nearly 4,000 jobs. When children sit in nearby Doyle Park and watch the massive planes roll off the line, there’s a good chance that they themselves will be building — or piloting — the next generation’s next great aerospace innovation, built right here in Alabama.
The aerospace industry in Alabama has come a long way since Orville and Wilbur Wright established the nation’s first civilian flight school in Montgomery in 1910. The Wright brothers had no way of knowing that 170 miles south and 100 years in the future, Alabamians would be building commercial aircraft to put their humble biplane to shame. But Airbus, and hundreds of companies like it across the state, are a growing and powerful engine for economic growth moving Alabama upward.
If you’d like to discuss the possibilities for aerospace at the International Paris Air Show, call or email HPM President Mike Lanier, VP of Business Development Jay Daily or Director of Marketing Andi Sims directly, or visit booth C98 in Hall 3 of the USA Pavilion.
VP Business Development
Director of Marketing