|Executive summary update
A second jetliner assembly line, another F-35 reprogramming lab, a new
maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, additional rocket engine assembly and
testing, and continued work on NASA’s Space Launch System are among the
aerospace activities that occurred in the year since the Gulf Coast Aerospace
Corridor 2017-2018 reference book was published.
Growth has marked nearly every aspect of the Gulf Coast region’s sizeable and
varied aerospace/aviation sector, along with a continued push to train the field’s
Among the highlights in the past year:
Canada’s Bombardier said it would build CSeries jetliners in Mobile, Ala., in a deal
with Airbus that will close July 1, leading to a second jetliner assembly line in Mobile.
A new $46 million maintenance, repair and overhaul hangar that will employ 400
workers opened in June at Florida’s Pensacola International Airport.
At NASA’s Stennis Space Center, Miss., Aerojet Rocketdyne assembled its first AR-
22 rocket engine for Boeing’s Phantom Express, a DARPA’s spaceship program.
A second F-35 reprogramming lab, this one for Australia, Canada, and the United
Kingdom, is transitioning from Fort Worth, Texas, to Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base.
Relativity Space and Stratolaunch Systems, two commercial space companies, opted
to test their rocket engines at Stennis Space Center.
UTC Aerospace’s expanded facility in Foley, Ala., delivered its first fully integrated
“neo” engine and nacelle. Safran opened a nacelles operation in Mobile.
NASA at Stennis Space Center launched a search for a non-federal private partner
to lead in development of a 1,100-acre technology corridor called Enterprise Park.
In an arrangement expected to be finalized this summer, L3 Crestview Aerospace will
be sold to a New York investment firm in a $540 million deal.
Airbus in Mobile is now building four A320 series jetliners every month, with its latest,
an A321neo, being delivered to Hawaiian Airlines in June.
Economic development leaders have good reason to target aerospace, a multibillion-
dollar, research intense, innovative enterprise that produces technologically
advanced aircraft, space and defense systems.
It involves civilian and military activities and uses talent ranging from those who
design aircraft and those who assemble them to those who fly and maintain them.
Workers are highly skilled and pay is above average.
In the 2017-2018 book, Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group put it this way: “The Gulf
Coast aerospace corridor has all the right conditions for future growth, a pro-
business environment, strong political support for the industry, and great working
conditions all mean good things for the future.”
The I-10 region between Southeast Louisiana and Northwest Florida is where the
aerospace interests of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi intersect. It’s a
showcase for all four, where growth in one area of the corridor can benefit all of them.
The region must continue to focus on attracting aerospace while the interest is high,
and that it needs to continue to develop a highly skilled workforce.
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