The Aerospace Industry: Soaring Away

Expectations that the COVID-19 pandemic may soon ease is giving some hope to aviation and aerospace executives, who anticipate that the commercial end of the business will soon rebound.

Locations For The Aviation Industry: Aerospace Is Soaring Away

Expectations that the COVID-19 pandemic may soon ease is giving some hope to aviation and aerospace executives, who anticipate that the commercial end of the business will soon rebound.


https://businessfacilities.com/2022/02/locations-for-the-aviation-industry-aerospace-is-soaring-away/
Expectations that the COVID-19 pandemic may soon ease is giving some hope to aviation and aerospace executives, who anticipate that the commercial end of the business will soon rebound.
By Seth Mendelson
From the January/February 2022 Issue

The lingering COVID-19 pandemic is still playing havoc with part of the aviation industry as many airlines are hesitant to invest heavily in updating or expanding fleets. On the other hand, the defense end of the business continues to thrive, as governments around the world seek to build up their air power.

Overall, the industry seems to be faring very well and many industry officials expect pent up demand among commercial airlines to eventually lead to a strong rebound in that end of the business, which should help overall demand in the industry.

aviation industry
(Photo: iStock)

New technologies should also help the industry expand in the near future. Major breakthroughs are helping to generate greater interest in new types of planes on both the commercial and defense segments. In particular, many commercial airlines are asking for better fuel efficiencies from their new planes as well as the ability to use planes in a variety of short- and long-term flights.

The industry does expect air traffic to increase throughout this year, compared to 2021 levels, with some saying that volume could grow by 20% to 40% in the second half of the year compared to last year’s levels.

On the defense side, governments from across the globe are eager to tap into the latest in technological advances for aircraft, and many industry experts say that they are willing to pay for it.

Pinellas County, FL: Aviation And Aerospace Is Thriving

Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast and anchored by the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Pinellas County is home to a thriving aviation and aerospace industry. Pinellas County is committed to attracting new aviation and aerospace businesses as well as facilitating the organic growth of companies that already call this community home. Corporations such as Honeywell, Lockheed Martin – Aero, Raytheon, and GE Aviation anchor this industry sector and contribute to the vibrancy of the local workforce. These companies are involved in everything from the manufacturing of electronics and satellite components, medical beds and unique aircraft parts.

Based on EMSI-2020 Data, there are 55 companies in the county that operate under the aviation and aerospace NAICS Codes. These 55 primary employers represent an employee base of close to 4,000 highly skilled, technical workers. These businesses are bolstered by the many machine shops, like ARCH Global Precision & Willett Precision, and ancillary companies that make components used by local aviation and aerospace companies. In addition, aircraft parts suppliers like Aero Supply USA and The Bernd Group sell to national leaders in the industry.

Aircraft parts such as electronics, metal fabrication, lighting and interiors are manufactured in Pinellas. The county’s large federal prime contractors produce search, detection, navigation, guidance aeronautical, nautical systems and instruments used by defense and homeland security partners. Jabil, one of Pinellas County’s largest employers and #104 on the Fortune 500 list, also manufactures parts used in the aviation industry.

SS White creates flexible shaft technology that can be found on every jet engine aircraft and is critical for the identical operation of jet engine speeds. SS White is one of the oldest manufacturers in the U.S. and relocated to Pinellas County from New Jersey.

Clearwater’s Aerosonic Corporation makes aviation instruments and avionics equipment, air data computer systems, and standby displays for both current and legacy aircraft. 35 Technologies Group makes aircraft wiring harnesses. Belac, a Chromalloy Company, manufactures jet engine blades. Brycoat and Coating Technologies provide aircraft part coating for a wide variety of aviation companies. General Dynamics Ordnance and L3 Harris Aviation both have regional headquarters in Pinellas County.

Eclipse Energy and Edmund Optics produce thin films used for satellites and other space craft. Electronics, guided missile, and space vehicles are other components manufactured in the community. Largo’s Aero Medical makes the medical beds used in various aircraft, planes, and helicopters to transport patients for life-saving care.

Many aviation and aerospace manufacturers are now utilizing composite manufacturing to lessen the weight of aircraft. Composites’ (fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar) lightweight characteristics and strength are ideal for the harsh conditions aircraft deal with every day. Pinellas County’s Aeromatrix and Jormac make composite aircraft interiors and exteriors for a myriad of aviation companies. Pinellas Technical College (PTC) will soon be offering an entry level composite manufacturing certification. The program was developed with extensive input from local industry.

The cornerstone of the aviation industry in Pinellas is the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE). Allegiant is the largest commercial passenger carrier at PIE. Passengers can fly to over 60 cities from PIE. Its longest runway sits at an elevation of 9’10” and is 9,730 x 150 ft. PIE currently has a 120-acre undeveloped site that is a planned mixed-use Aviation and Commercial Business Center. This site includes direct airside access and up to 80 acres for future aviation use. The airport has recently undergone major renovations as a new overhead throughway allowing direct vehicle access to Interstate 275 is nearing completion.

St. Petersburg – Clearwater Airport is also home to the U.S. Coast Guard’s busiest Air Station. Air Station – Clearwater is responsible for search and rescue (SAR) operations throughout the southeastern United States.

EEI Manufacturing offers the Institute of Printed Circuits (IPC) Certification. IPC training is provided for various companies in aviation/aerospace.

Pinellas-based, National Aviation Academy (NAA) is an FAA-approved school and offers programs in aviation maintenance and avionics technology.  The NAA offers three certification programs: Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT), Aviation Maintenance Professional (AMP) and Advanced Aircraft Systems (AAS). Through St. Petersburg College’s (SPC) University Partnership Center, students earn Bachelor’s Degrees from Florida’s renowned Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. SPC also offers classes in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology including filming, local regulations, and FAA rules.

Northern Utah: Plenty of Space for the Aerospace Industry

While Utah’s Silicon Slopes and an increasing number of Utah unicorn tech companies continue to capture the headlines for job growth and market capitalization, the sleepy suburbs just north of Salt Lake City quietly support the targeted growth of Utah’s aerospace industry and the operation of prestigious aerospace and defense companies like Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Janicki Industries, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, Inc., Barnes Aerospace, Parker Hannifin Control Systems, Williams International, Borsight, JBT Aerotech, Petersen, Inc. and many others.

About 45 minutes north of the capital city, Williams International, a jet engine manufacturer, operates one of the most modern and efficient gas turbine design-to-production operations in the world. The company produces jet engines for corporate aircraft manufacturers including Cessna, SyberJet, Pilatus and Beechcraft, as well as military missile systems.

aviation industry
(Photo: hill.af.mil)

Not far away, the Barnes Aerospace Ogden Division stands as an industry leader in complex fabrications. Specializing in concurrent engineering development and new product introductions, the company supplies superior solutions to aerospace customers across the industry. Those solutions include the integration capability and kitting of complex assemblies using state-of-the-art capabilities.

Hill Air Force Base. Just a few miles south, Hill Air Force Base (HAFB) is the epicenter of Utah’s aerospace industry. HAFB anchors the nation’s aging Minuteman III (MMIII) missile sustainment effort while also leading the development of the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) engineering and manufacturing program. As Utah’s largest single-site employer, HAFB supports approximately 30,000 personnel and military dependents with an annual federal payroll of $1.44 billion. Annually, the base supports approximately $2.52 billion in indirect jobs with a $4.55 billion total annual economic impact, according to the Hill AFM Economic Impact Statement for 2020.

Approximately 27,000 personnel work within the base’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Air Force active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings, and mission partners. HAFB is the Air Force’s second largest base by population and geographical size. The base also supports operations at the massive, 2.3 million-acre Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) in Northern Utah’s west desert. UTTR is the largest block of overland contiguous special-use airspace in the continental US.

Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. As the winner of the $13.3 billion GBSD engineering and manufacturing development contract, which will replace the nation’s aging intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system, Northrop Grumman is making a $380 million capital investment on property at the north end of HAFB where it is adding approximately 3,500 workers. Northrop Grumman is currently the largest security and defense company in Utah with approximately 7,000 employees across the state, primarily found in Northern Utah locations like Clearfield, Ogden, and Promontory Point.

Falcon Hill. HAFB is also home to Falcon Hill Aerospace Research Park, the largest Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) initiative in the Air Force and one of the largest commercial EULs in the Department of Defense. Falcon Hill is an example of Utah’s collaborative environment and the result of an unprecedented and ongoing public-private partnership between the Air Force and Sunset Ridge Development Partners, which allows commercial property development both on and off the base. Falcon Hill is one of the most strategically located aerospace research parks in the nation. This 550-acre private development offers unmatched location, expansion capability, staging benefits, and infrastructure for aerospace and defense contractors.

Falcon Hill is experiencing exponential growth by facilitating partnerships between public and private companies. National defense contractors and other significant aerospace companies are choosing to come to Falcon Hill to create and strengthen partnerships with Hill Air Force Base.

Advanced Composites Manufacturing. One would be remiss to talk about Northern Utah’s dynamic aerospace industry without also considering its amazingly deep advanced composites manufacturing sector. Utah is the epicenter for advanced composites manufacturing and Northern Utah is home to a substantial number of composite companies that manufacture everything from aerospace and aviation components to bicycle frames and outdoor gear.

Why Northern Utah? Like many other businesses, aerospace companies settle in Northern Utah because of a highly educated workforce, supportive and collaborative educational institutions, government leaders that try to reduce and eliminate red tape, excellent opportunities for work-life balance, unparalleled outdoor recreational opportunities essentially in your own backyard (1000+ of miles of hiking/biking trails, ski resorts, blue ribbon fishing, water sports, camping, hunting, rock climbing, ATVing and so much more!).

The superior workforce, along with research universities such as Utah State University in Logan, help aerospace and defense companies drive affordable innovation and excellence while making Northern Utah a leader in aerospace technology development. The Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) has been solving the technical challenges faced by the military, science community, and industry for more than six decades. Meanwhile, local technical colleges support industry needs by supplying talent-ready workers.

Hernando County, FL: Welcoming New Business

Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Technology Center (BKV) welcomes aviation businesses with premium corporate and runway-access build-to-suit sites.

An award-winning general aviation airport and more, the expansive 2400-acre BKV campus is home to more than 150 businesses. In fact, this high ratio of non-aeronautical enterprises helps ensure airport sustainability. In addition to aviation and aerospace jobs, over 2,000 people work at a variety of firms from industrial to advanced manufacturing, distribution and technology.

aviation industry
(Photo: Hernando County Office Of Economic Development)

New BKV Roadways Open Land For Aviation Manufacturing And Aircraft Services Development. New airport sites are ready for corporate and aviation development with roadway extensions. Two roads have been extended to join in a T-intersection, bounding large land parcels with both street and airside access. Perfect for aviation businesses with large aircraft hangar storage and facility needs, the parcels can be sized and developed to suit.

Airport Manager Steve Miller points out that “As part of our westside infrastructure development plan that includes rehabilitation of our inactive third runway and taxiways, this roadway project holds appeal for larger aircraft operators or servicers. Now, they’ll be able to choose among some premium airside development parcels.”

Capitalizing on airport runway-access land, Pem-Air Turbine Engine Services plans to construct a 65,000-square-foot hangar and commercial aircraft service facility this year. Constrained in their former south Florida location, this large jet engine repair provider found the space to grow at BKV.

New Technical Training Center To Fill Workforce Pipeline. The vibrant BKV business ecosystem is a magnet for attracting top workforce talent. A new technical training complex will ensure a permanent pipeline of trained employees. The planned educational and community-focused campus is a joint project between the Hernando County School District, Pasco-Hernando State College and Hernando County Government. On 18 acres at BKV, the location sits adjacent to American Aviation’s busy Flight Academy. Degree and certification programs will include high-tech skills for in-demand occupations like advanced manufacturing, aviation, aerospace and healthcare.

Master-Planned And Always Adding Value. The pace of capital improvements to Brooksville–Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Technology Center has surged in recent years; 17 projects have wrapped up, comprising a combined $23 million investment, boosting its stock as an aviation and economic development powerhouse.    

From airfield safety to corporate park infrastructure and aesthetics, improvements enhance the BKV experience for pilots, business tenants, visitors and the community.

“The value of a strong plan can’t be overstated.” said Valerie Pianta, economic development director. “To maximize the potential of this public resource, we rely on long-term planning and preparation. From airfield safety to roadways and infrastructure, the airport is master planned and benefit-driven; BKV capital improvements advance long term sustainability and value.”

Early 2022 brings the primary runway rehabilitation project, which will transform the 7,000-foot x 150-foot runway from concrete to asphalt. Upon completion, BKV’s main runway will be poised for a planned extension to 8,000 feet.

Multi-Modal Logistics. An abundance of land for development means that even businesses with large footprints enjoy room to grow at BKV. North of Tampa on Florida’s central Gulf coast, convenient to the Suncoast Parkway/Florida-589 and other major routes, an array of options means visionary businesses have land to expand.   

Center-Of-The-State Ground Transportation Access. Hernando County’s east side marks the intersection of industrial accessibility, availability and affordability. On SR 50, Florida’s major east-west artery, just one mile from Interstate 75 and 40 miles from the Florida Turnpike, several hundred acres are ready for development.

From Hernando County, nearly the whole state of Florida and southern Georgia are within a four-hour drive. These eastern county sites near the 1.5 million-square-foot Wal-Mart Distribution Center are prime for manufacturing or logistics.

A Business-Friendly Community. Hernando County is committed to supporting commerce and industry, so the word is getting out among developers and growing aviation businesses. Recent project proposals reflect evolving business trends such as manufacturing, air cargo, aircraft conversions and repair services as well as distribution. The robust highway network is key for shipping and receiving logistics.

Welcoming businesses to consider relocation or expansion, Hernando County offers ample build-to-suit sites and a well-trained workforce. The Office of Economic Development team ensures expedited permitting and streamlines any other incentives available. Airport planning and investments in Brooksville–Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Tech Center are continual and yield current and future gains. Airport land lease rates are competitive. A 285-acre parcel that spans the airport’s west side has completed the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program and initial environmental assessment.

Missouri: Leading The Way In Aviation

From Charles Lindbergh to the new Boeing T-7A trainer, Missouri has led the way in every aspect of aviation for nearly 100 years. There are more than 100 aerospace manufacturing companies across the state, including Boeing’s Defense Space and Security with more than 16,000 employees; GKN Aerospace and its 1,000 employees working on composites; Seyer Industries specializing in high-complexity machined aerospace parts; PAS Technologies manufacturing, maintaining and overhauling aerospace components; and NEMO Manufacturing creating electrical components for fighter jets. According to World Atlas, the aerospace and defense industry in Missouri employs about 80,000 Missourians and is home to an additional 4,000 interns in engineering-related fields.

The F/A-18, EA-18, F-15, and the aforementioned T-7A are all built in Missouri. In fact, the T-7A jets are part of a $9.2 billion contract that created 1,800 new jobs in the region. And composite parts for the 777X are also Missouri-made.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels demonstration team flew the Missouri-made F/A-18 Hornets from 1986-2000. These amazing aircraft were finally retired and replaced by the Missouri-made F/A-18 Super Hornets that are still flying high today.

In recent years, Missouri has seen growth and investment by the aerospace industry. Alpine Aviation Group recently expanded into Missouri with a new facility designed to assemble wiring harnesses for aircraft. Boeing took flight with the new MQ-25 unmanned refueler that was designed and built in Missouri, while also landing a $4 billion modification contract from the Department of Defense to produce 78 F/A-19 Super Hornets for the U.S. Navy.

R&S Machining, an aerospace manufacturer, recently invested $13.5 million and created 60 new jobs in Missouri. Arnold Defense and Electronics secured a $10.5 million contract to build rocket launchers and other aviation components. And EWR Radar Systems won a $20.7 million contract from the U.S. Air Force.

In Springfield, Envoy Air Inc., a subsidiary of American Airlines Group, announced an investment in order to service the Embraer E-175 aircraft, and Positronic Industries Inc. invested $2.5 million and added 90 jobs to manufacture electrical connectors utilized in the aerospace industry. 3M also expanded in Springfield investing $40 million to produce industrial adhesives and tapes for the aerospace industry.

A Robust Talent Pipeline. Missouri leaders, at all levels, understand the power of a robust workforce. In fact, it has been a key priority for Missouri Governor Mike Parson throughout his two terms. The state supports talent development across Missouri through its robust and customizable training programs, driven by the Missouri One Start team.

In the St. Louis region, a partnership between The Boeing Company and the local community college allowed a customized, pre-employment aerospace training program to take flight. The program provides 208 hours of instruction in aircraft assembly techniques, work instructions, and more, creating a customized talent pipeline for Boeing and others.

In addition, there are a number of Knowledge Centers around the state connecting talent and industry together in a real-world environment that is moving the industry forward. The Center for Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies (CAMT) at Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) is an industrial consortium between Boeing, GKN Aerospace and other industry leaders. Other Knowledge Centers include: Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Kansas City; the Boeing Research and Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous System Laboratory in St. Charles; Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau; Missouri State University in Springfield; St. Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology; and, University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.

A Strategic Choice. Missouri’s location is also a strategic advantage for aerospace companies. The state is located in the center of the U.S. geographically and is connected to raw materials and customers via international airports, interstates, every Class 1 railroad and the Mississippi River system. The state is also the birthplace of the U.S. Interstate System, and home to the northernmost ice and dam free port on the Mississippi allowing year-round access from anywhere.

Missouri’s central location puts it less than one-day from more than 50 percent of the continental U.S., and most of the rest within two days, ensuring that the products needed to produce aviation innovation are readily accessible. That central location also makes final delivery convenient to anywhere in the U.S.

Missouri also has one of the lowest corporate income taxes in the country, ranking third in the nation on the Tax Foundation corporate income tax index. And it offers sales and use tax exemptions on machinery and equipment used to establish a new or expand an existing facility, along with property tax exemptions for inventories, and state sales tax and local use tax exemptions on energy purchases. The Tax Foundation ranked Missouri as the 10th best state for new businesses and the 4th best state for labor-intensive manufacturing in their 2021 Location Matters study.

When compared to other states that also attract aerospace investment, Missouri is highly competitive. North Carolina ranks 4th on the corporate income tax index, one spot behind Missouri. Alabama ranks 17th, Kansas 21st, and Connecticut 27th. Nearer the bottom of the list, you find Washington at 39th, California at 46th, and Texas 47th. And in 2017, St. Louis, Missouri was ranked as the 6th best metro for aerospace manufacturing.

Salina, KS – Offering A Wide Range Of Options

The Salina Airport Authority offers a full range of aviation services including a 12,300-foot runway capable of handling all types of large, heavy air freight and air carrier aircraft.  Currently United Airlines serves Salina with daily services to and from both Denver International Airport and Chicago O’Hare Airport. In early 2022, service to Houston will provide a third link for Salina. The Salina Airport Authority has several hangars available for lease including Building 600 (68,308 SF), Building 606 (49,222 SF) and numerous other buildings suitable for providing services for regional and businesses jets.

aviation industry
(Photo: Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus)

In June 2019, 1 Vision Aviation expanded to the Salina Regional Airport providing an FAA certified FAR part 145 repair station operation to the community. The company is a complete maintenance, repair and overhaul facility that provides all manner of airframe inspections and repairs as well as power point work on many types of large air carrier sized aircraft. The company headquarters is in Sioux City, IA and is at 100% capacity with a growing list of airline customer contracts necessitating the expansion to Salina. The company has leased Hangar 959, the largest hangar at the airport consisting of 70,904 square feet. This has allowed the company space to meet the needs of regional jets as well as private corporate jets. The company has currently 250 employees with plans to expand to over 400 employees.

Another key plus for the community is the Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus. Since 1965 when the former Shilling Airforce Base closed it has been an aviation school. The college has gone through rebranding to cement the commitment to both manned and unmanned aviation to the community. The university has plans to address the three pillars of aerospace industry including aviation, unmanned systems, and advanced manufacturing. The professional pilot program ranks among the top five and the unmanned aerial systems program ranks first or second in the nation depending on which day of the week it is. The Airframe and Powerplant program at the university offers a great resource to companies seeking a trained workforce for their operations. 1 Vision Aviation has taken great advantage of the A&P Program. The university will be expanding operations in engineering and business degrees toward the needs of aviation industry.

The Salina community is committed to supporting aviation development at the Salina Airport Authority and beyond with support from the Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus. New and growing employers will find Salina to be an ideal location for new companies seeking available buildings, green field sites and support for aviation workforce.

The Aerospace And Aviation Industry Is Flying High In Arkansas

Aerospace plays a major role in Arkansas’ economy, with companies manufacturing and exporting aerospace and aviation products that help power the global economy. Across the state, a diverse mix of aerospace companies, including industry leaders Lockheed Martin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Raytheon Technologies; aircraft manufacturers, such as Dassault Falcon; maintenance and refurbishment companies such as Rose Aircraft in Mena; and specialty companies like Galley Support Innovations in Sherwood, are producing essential goods and services for local, national, and international needs.

aviation industry
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (left) and Frank St. John, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control at the 2019 Paris Air Show. (Photo: Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

With all of the aerospace companies manufacturing in Arkansas, it should come as little surprise that The Natural State’s top export is aircraft and aircraft-related parts and services. In 2020, civilian aircraft, engines, and parts accounted for 19.7 percent of Arkansas’ total exports, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

These companies, and many other aerospace firms, have thrived in Arkansas due to its business-friendly environment, talented workforce, favorable legislation, and low taxes—even before the largest tax cut in the state’s history in December 2021.

In recent years, multiple companies have expanded or moved to Arkansas because of the advantages the state has to offer. Fortune 500 companies and privately-held companies—even the U.S. military—have recognized the strengths of the state’s aerospace industry and the benefits of growing in Arkansas.

One of the biggest recent developments in Arkansas’ aerospace industry has been the selection of Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith as the home for a F-35 Lightning training center for foreign military sales and as the location for the Republic of Singapore’s 425th Fighter Squadron, a F-16 training unit. Announced in June 2021, this project is expected to have a $1 billion annual economic impact on Arkansas.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has had a longtime presence in Arkansas and has expanded in the state multiple times. In 2020, the company opened its state-of-the-art rocket motor manufacturing facility in Camden. The manufacturing facility produces large solid rocket motors that power next-generation national security programs, including strategic deterrence, hypersonics, and missile defense.

Lockheed Martin recently expanded its center of excellence in Camden, investing $142 million in the facility and creating 326 new jobs. Announced at the Paris Air Show, this investment supports new construction and improvements to Lockheed Martin’s existing facilities in Camden, which produce the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and perform final assembly for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) and Precision Fires products for U.S. and allied military services.

“Our facility in Camden is a highly efficient, high quality center of excellence that contributes components and performs final assembly for products that are important to the defense of the United States and a growing number of allied nations,” said Frank St. John, Chief Operating Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation. “The facility has a long record of precision manufacturing and on-time deliveries, which is the reason we continue to invest in and expand our Camden Operations. This expansion will help ensure the availability, affordability and quality of systems we build for our customers around the world.”

Other notable aerospace industry expansions in Arkansas include Radius Aerospace’s expansion in Hot Springs, which created 65 new jobs; Mundo-Tech’s expansion in Rogers, which doubled the company’s physical presence and created seven new technology roles; and CoorsTek’s $26 million capital investment on a facility expansion in Benton that increased its workforce by 15 percent.

The most critical component for companies looking to expand or relocate is the workforce and the availability of skilled workers. Arkansas has an established aerospace workforce and is actively developing new talent with educational partners throughout the state.

Overall, 8,276 individuals are employed in aerospace and defense manufacturing in Arkansas. Aerospace manufacturing—both product and parts manufacturing—employs approximately 4,050 individuals. Arkansas is also home to 2,528 Airframe and Powertrain mechanics.

Arkansas is a right-to-work state, and companies find that Arkansas employees are hard-working and effective. When Radius Aerospace expanded in Hot Springs in 2019, Vice President of Supply Chain Darren Hill attributed the growth of the company to the local employees, saying, “The quality of work our fine employees produce has enabled us to grow and continue to support both the aerospace and defense industry, which is so important to our nation.”

Education is a vital component to Arkansas’ success in the aerospace sector. The aerospace industry in Arkansas is well-served by local educational institutions, which help provide a talented workforce.

There are 45 educational institutions of higher education, including four-year research universities and colleges, and two-year colleges and vocational schools, that help prepare Arkansans for rewarding industry careers. Five educational institutions in Arkansas offer a certification in aviation maintenance technology. There are more than 2,100 engineering-related certificates and degrees awarded in Arkansas each year.

Reach out to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Business Development Team to see how Arkansas can help your company grow.

Check out all the latest news related to economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection in the aviation industry.

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