Alabama team seeks aerospace growth opportunities at Farnborough Airshow

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield is leading a team of economic development specialists from across Alabama at next week’s 2022 Farnborough International Airshow as part of a strategic push to facilitate growth in the state’s economically important aerospace and defense sector.

Beginning Monday, the trade show is the industry’s premier 2022 business event, attracting high-level corporate decision-makers and industry leaders from around the globe to an exhibition venue at Farnborough Airport, located near London.

Secretary Canfield said the Farnborough Airshow represents a unique opportunity for Alabama’s economic development team to forge new relationships with industry leaders and strengthen existing connections through focused meetings in a single location.

“The aerospace industry represents one of the Alabama team’s primary targets for growth opportunities, and the sky is our limit as far as possibilities go within this sector,” he said.

Alabama aerospace industry
Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield leads a team of economic development specialists from across Alabama at the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow.

“At Farnborough, we will speak with C-Suite executives at some of the world’s most technologically advanced aerospace companies as we continue to position Alabama for future economic growth.”

While at Farnborough, Secretary Canfield and Bob Smith, the Alabama Department of Commerce’s point man on aerospace, are expected to engage in scheduled appointments and informal discussions with executives at aerospace giants including Boeing, Airbus, GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance, as well as smaller companies.

“At Farnborough, we can showcase Alabama’s many advantages and capabilities in the aerospace sector while advancing the state as the ideal location for investment and job creation,” said Smith, assistant director of Commerce’s Business Development Division in charge of European strategy.

“Because we can connect with companies from around the world at one location over three days, we can often unearth potential growth projects and put Alabama on the radar screen for these opportunities,” he added.


“Alabama and aerospace share a common DNA, and this relationship is poised to climb to new heights in the future.”

The 2022 Farnborough mission renews a familiar recruitment effort for the Alabama economic development team, which has traditionally mounted a strong presence at the European air shows that rotate annually between Paris and the U.K. location. The 2020 and 2021 events were canceled because of the pandemic.

Discussions at previous European air shows have kick-started Alabama investment projects from GE Aviation, GKN Aerospace and other aerospace and defense companies.

For instance, GE’s decision to bring high-volume additive manufacturing (3-D printing) to its Auburn plant was announced at Farnborough in 2014 after talks at earlier air shows. The site became the first industrial-scale additive manufacturing factory for a jet engine component and recently produced its 100,000th 3-D printed fuel nozzle tip.

Other companies, including BAE Systems, Carpenter Technology Corp. and Winkelmann Flowform Technology, have announced Alabama growth plans at the European air shows.

These five projects alone represent over $160 million in capital investment and almost 400 new jobs for Alabama, according to data from the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Alabama can provide aerospace companies everything they need to succeed. We have a motivated and skilled workforce, as well as first-class job-training programs. We can offer a pro-business environment, and we know how to help aerospace companies thrive,” Secretary Canfield said.

“Alabama and aerospace share a common DNA, and this relationship is poised to climb to new heights in the future.”

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A team of high school students from Alabama will compete for global honors in rocket building at the 2024 Farnborough International Airshow.