Leaders from the Spokane International Airport (SIA) and Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) have announced they will form a Task Force to attract the design, production, and final assembly of Boeing’s new midsize airplane, the “NMA” to the Spokane region, joining a growing cluster of aerospace manufacturers.
Larry Krauter, CEO of Spokane International Airport and Chairman of the Board of the West Plains/Airport Area Public Development Authority and Todd Mielke, CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated, are inviting representatives from local governments, education, business, labor, and other economic development organizations to participate in a work group to assemble a proposal to submit to Boeing for consideration.
Boeing is expected to announce the launch of a new midsize airplane sometime in 2018.
“Boeing has long been a major economic driver in the Washington State economy. We want them to continue to manufacture aircraft in the Pacific Northwest,” said Mielke. “We have more than 240 local manufacturers producing products for the aerospace industry along our I-90 Aerospace Corridor, which stretches from central Washington State to central Montana.”
Kaiser Aluminum, Triumph Composite Systems, AMI Metals, and UT Aerospace Systems are some of the area’s leading aerospace companies.
Krauter pointed out that, “this economic development opportunity is exactly why City and County leaders established the PDA around Spokane International Airport in order to support the Airport Board’s Master Plan and aerospace recruitment strategy. We will develop a compelling proposal to Boeing through the combined resources and creativity of the Task Force members, the new PDA Board and our state and local elected officials.”
“The Spokane region has one of the nation’s fastest growing workforces in the 18-34 age group,” said Mielke. “We have great educational programs from pre-K to post-graduate opportunities, a short commute time that is a fraction of the congestion experienced in other parts of the country, and extremely affordable housing. Residents enjoy a much higher quality of life and a more affordable cost of living in this region.”
Krauter stated, “The Airport has been working diligently to develop infrastructure to support large-scale aerospace manufacturing within a 1,000+ acre site with one example being the grant from the Legislature’s Transportation Capital Budget to extend rail directly into the site that will be proposed for Boeing’s NMA plant. That rail line will be completed in 2018. Combine this along with the Connect Washington improvements to the Medical Lake and Geiger Interchanges as well as other locally funded transportation projects and we have a perfect ‘clean sheet’ site with runway access and all infrastructure in place to offer to Boeing.”
Members of the Spokane economic development and aerospace communities convened in 2011 to align their participation in the Boeing 737 MAX opportunity, and again in 2013 when Boeing announced the competition for the 777X. The emphasis on growing Spokane’s aerospace industry has culminated in several expansions to our area, and an increased focus on programs for education and workforce development to ensure that employers and employees are poised to compete for the NMA program.
The work group anticipates to have its first meeting in January 2018. Invited participants will include: Spokane County, cities within Spokane County, the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council, Community Colleges of Spokane, Washington State University, University of Washington, Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, local school districts, the Spokane Labor Council, Avista Corp., Inland Power, and additional business and economic development entities.
About Greater Spokane Incorporated
Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) is the Spokane region’s largest business development organization. GSI works to create something greater for the community by connecting businesses to valuable relationships and resources, driving initiatives to improve our region, and advocating for business with a unified voice. GSI is funded through a combination of private and public investment, including 1,200 private-sector members; Spokane County; Washington State Department of Commerce; and the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Deer Park, Liberty Lake, Medical Lake, Millwood and Newport, and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. For more information visit GreaterSpokane.org or contact us at 509-624-1393 or 1-800-SPOKANE. For more information about moving or expanding your business in the Spokane region, visit AdvantageSpokane.com.
About Spokane International Airport
Spokane International Airport is a 4,800 acre commercial service airport served by seven airlines and two air cargo carriers. The airport processed over 3 million passengers and 61,367 U.S. air cargo tons in 2012. It is the second largest airport in the State of Washington and recognized by the FAA as a small hub. Nonstop air service is provided to 12 major cities. For flight arrival and departure information, weather forecasts, Terminal maps, and concession programs, please visit the Airport’s website at www.spokaneairports.net.
About West Plains/Airport Area Public Development Authority
The purpose of the Authority is to undertake, assist with and otherwise facilitate the acquisition, construction, development equipping, leasing, operation and maintenance of public benefit projects within the PDA boundaries as defined in the Interlocal Agreement in order to assist both the City, County, Spokane International Airport, and private sector partners in their ability to improve the economic conditions in and around the City and County of Spokane.