Growing Washington Aerospace

We addressed the Governor’s Eastern Washington Aerospace Summit October 7, 2009, in Spokane, outlining a number of opportunities that aerospace in Washington State should pursue to grow.

Here is the press release on this address, and below the jump is a link to our presentation.

Washington Should Look Beyond Tradition to Grow Aerospace

Issaquah, WA, October 7, 2009: Washington State officials should look beyond traditional businesses to grow aerospace opportunities here, said Scott Hamilton, managing director of Leeham Co., in a speech today before the Eastern Washington Governor’s Aerospace Summit in Spokane.

“State officials and stakeholders understandably focus on Boeing and its supporting supplier base when it comes to Washington aerospace,” Hamilton said. “But global aerospace is changing and it is a mistake to maintain this focus. The time has come to dramatically expand thinking to adjust to realities, opportunities and new requirements of commercial and defense aviation and aerospace.”

Hamilton pointed out that there are emerging competitors to Airbus and Boeing in the 100- to 150-seat jet market and a resurgence of interest in turbo-prop airliners that current Washington aerospace companies should be pursuing. The State should pursue efforts to attract companies that can supply these opportunities.

While some may think supporting competitors of Boeing is the wrong course, Hamilton pointed out that Boeing is partnering or supporting several of the emerging programs, notably in China, Russia and Japan, and that in any event vendors supply components to these companies. A strong supply base only benefits Boeing.

But State officials and stakeholders should not stop with commercial aviation, Hamilton said. There are growing requirements for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aerial Systems that should be pursued. Hamilton also urged the Summit to broaden its approach to the growing critical need for cybersecurity, which has become a high priority in national defense and economic security. Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have all made this a priority and each company has identified a critical shortage of experts in this field. Washington can partner with these companies to provide education at Washington universities and colleges, and ideally could create a “Cyber U” to meet these needs.

“Green Aviation” is another area the State and stakeholders should pursue. Hamilton noted that Boeing and Airbus have active eco-aviation programs and the two rivals are cooperating to find solutions to the air traffic control systems in the US and Europe.

Here is the presentation:

Governor’s Aerospace Summit.

4 Comments on “Growing Washington Aerospace

  1. Pingback: Gregoire talks up Washington aerospace « Machinists News


    Is now a DEAD link. Maybe for good.

    Perhaps he/they realized that badmouthing Washington wasn’t going to cut it.

    Look beyond Boeing? I agree totally.
    As well we should look to a degree beyond aerospace and it’s cyclical problems. Aero has it’s place though.

    One has to wonder what sort of problems EADS could create for Boeing by looking at Washington…

    Amusing thought.

  3. The biggest problems in the WA state aerospace business are Boeing, the IAM, and the government. But I guess those are the biggest pieces. 🙂

    Too many people talk as though government must do something other than foster a stable society through consistent government and support of a strong justice system and get out of the way of people who want to produce. WA politicians, and many business people who participate in such expense-account pontificating as the conference you spoke at, should look to California’s current economic problems as an example of meddling in general. And to California aerospace as an example of decline from high costs and poor management decisions – Douglas, for example, declined from its success selling the famous DC-3 and large piston-engined airliners to absorption by Boeing because its bad sales practices for jetliners left it unable to fund new development, Convair declined from its successful 240/240/440 airliners through a hastily designed thus uneconomic catchup jetliner to almost nothing, etc.

    I don’t recall Bill Boeing starting with government help, except air mail perhaps. And interestingly an early venture was international – air mail to and from ocean liners when they stopped in Victoria BC, to save most of the time it took the ships to sail to/from there and Seattle.

  4. Pingback: Does 777X assembly site matter to airlines? Yes, up to a point; and a retrospective to 2009 | Leeham News and Comment

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