Rep. Rick Larsen opens Washington pavilion at International Air Show

Jun 17, 2013 Issues: Jobs Labor and the Economy

PARIS – Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), joined by leaders in Washington state’s aerospace industry, opened the Washington Pavilion at the 50th International Paris Air Show, the largest worldwide event dedicated to the aviation and space industry. Larsen is leading the state’s 51-person delegation at the request of Governor Jay Inslee.

Inslee, who canceled plans to attend the Air Show so he could handle ongoing legislative budget negotiations in Washington’s capitol, said Larsen and the delegation are ready to promote job growth and inbound investment in the state’s aerospace sector, which already includes 1,256 companies and employs more than 131,000 workers touching every county in the state.

“There is no greater or larger audience for Washington’s aerospace industry than at the Paris Air Show,” Inslee said. “Every two years this event provides a global stage for our businesses and leaders to meet face-to-face with international aerospace companies and government officials and sell Washington state as the premier location for doing business and investing in aerospace.”

Larsen’s first day at the air show included meetings with key aerospace leaders including Boeing CEO Jim McNerney. Larsen expressed Washington State's steadfast support for The Boeing Company and shared the governor’s determination to bring together business, government and labor leaders to create the economic climate that makes Washington the best place to build the best airplanes and support thousands of family-wage jobs.

"As we approach Boeing’s centennial, Washington has never been more committed to growing the aerospace industry in the state. It’s one of the governor’s highest economic development priorities,” Larsen said. “Governor Inslee has embarked on a comprehensive process to determine what needs to be done and invest strategically to set the stage for success.”

Inslee has proposed more than $20 million to the 2013 Legislature for aerospace-related education and workforce training programs, more engineering degree slots at state universities, and funding for highway, bridge and port improvements

The state’s Aerospace Industry Strategy, announced in May, provides a long-term plan to grow the aerospace cluster and prioritizes specific activities for 2013/2014, the most significant of these being winning the 777X, as well as its carbon fiber wings.

Among the initiatives is an inter-agency initiative led by Everett Mayor Ray Stephenson to modernize and streamline land-use planning processes.

“Everett is proud to be propelled by one of the world’s premier aerospace clusters,” Mayor Stephanson said. "Innovative companies such as Umbra Cuscinetti, Pacifica Engineering and Zodiac Aerospace, among others, are attracted to Washington State and Everett for our talent, experience and strategic location."

Larsen, Commerce Director Brian Bonlender and Office of Aerospace Director Alex Pietsch today also met with executives from BAE Systems, Spanish aeronautical supplier Aciturri, Germany’s Diehl Aerospace, and Liebherr aerospace about possible expansion and investment in Washington state. Liebherr is a German multinational corporation that serves tunnel construction, cranes, industrial machinery and the alternative energy sector in addition to aerospace.

Additionally, Larsen and the delegation met with executives from two of France’s large regional aerospace clusters to discuss partnership and investment opportunities. Companies located in the ASTech Paris regional cluster account for some 100,000 jobs, with the vast majority in aerospace research and development. ASTech member companies SAFRAN and Dassault Systemes have a strong presence in Washington State. Washington’s delegation also met with leaders from the Aerospace Valley World Competitiveness Cluster, which has 560 member companies comprising over 120,000 jobs around the Airbus final assembly plant in Toulouse.

2013 is the 50th anniversary of the International Paris air Show in Le Bourget, France. With more than 2,000 exhibitors from 45 countries, 151,000 trade visitors, 3,200 journalists and 290 official delegations from 82 countries, the biennial show is a key point in the global aerospace industry's economic cycle. It is the essential event for meeting aviation and space industry professionals, discovering the latest innovations and touting our local aerospace companies and suppliers.

This year, the United States pavilion is the largest international group, with a record 34 states represented among 22 separate state exhibits.

Washington State has attended or exhibited at the past 14 International Paris Air Shows. This year’s delegation of 51 is the largest group to date of Washington leaders, educators and aerospace businesses. Companies in the 2011 delegation directly attribute $4.9 million in sales to deals and relationships forged at the air show.

For more information about Washington’s aerospace legacy, watch the “Century of Know How” interactive history featured in Washington State’s pavilion or at choosewashingtonstate.com/paris2013.