July 12, 2023

Washington soars at Paris Air Show

Nearly 100 delegates from Washington attended the 54th edition of the Paris Air Show in June, led by Gov. Jay Inslee and Department of Commerce Director Mike Fong. Pierce County’s power team was in the thick of it, joining statewide economic partners and a full delegation of aerospace and manufacturing organizations.

Representing Pierce County were Bruce Kendall, EDB President and CEO; Sarah Bonds, EDB Vice President for Business Recruitment; Betty Capestany, Pierce County Economic Development Director; Dave Morell, Pierce County Councilmember; and David Baublits, City of Eatonville Mayor.

Big numbers

Around $150 billion in contracts were inked during the event, marking a rebound in the travel industry after a COVID-induced decline. That’s big news for Washington State, where aerospace is a $70 billion industry and supports more than 250,000 jobs.

Boeing announced around 300 firm orders, including 290 from Air India. Luxair, national carrier of Luxembourg, ordered four Boeing 737 MAX 7 aircraft to become Europe’s launch customer of the plane.

“It was great to be back at the world’s premiere aerospace event,” Kendall said. “The whole team left fueled by record-breaking orders and mind-blowing technology that will shape the industry. The future is now.”

It was a busy and fruitful few days for the team, which had 20 prescheduled meetings with aerospace suppliers along with on-the-spot networking and meetings on the ground.

“Our delegation walked away with 1 immediate site search, 3 hot leads and 4 retention and expansion follow-ups,” Bonds said. “We also have 11 warm leads that open the door for future conversations.”

Sustainability was the star

Sustainability was one of the key themes at this year’s show, from airplane design to sustainable aviation fuel to not-so-distant-future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Pierce County delegates had the opportunity to talk with representatives from eVTOL industry leaders, including Archer Aviation, Joby Aviation, Lilium Air Mobility and Wisk Aero, a subsidiary of Boeing.

Gov. Inslee also made two big announcements that point to the future of the industry and Washington’s place in it:

  • Funds from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund to ZeroAvia for the expansion of electric propulsion system technology development at Paine Field Airport in Everett. Read more
  • Clean energy startup Twelve will scale the production of E-Jet® fuel in Moses Lake. It will be the world’s first production facility of the sustainable aviation fuel, which is made from Co2 and renewable energy. Read more

Boeing unveils innovation

Boeing confirmed that it is considering a specific innovation for its next new-design airplane. The aerospace giant’s X-66A Sustainable Flight Demonstrator is expected to be developed to enter service in the mid-to-late 2030s. Long, aerodynamic wings attached high on the plane’s fuselage will yield great fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions. The U.S. Air Force gave the aircraft an official “X-plane” designation used for new experimental steps forward in aviation.

Boeing is also testing an open fan jet engine being developed by CFM International. The engine is a prime candidate to power Boeing’s next generation airplanes by the mid-to-late 2030s.

“Conversations were focused on the exciting future, not the past and the historical challenges of the industry, ” Bonds said. “The collaboration, education, training and investment that are happening across Washington State will ensure our aerospace industry is at the global forefront for years to come.”

Choose Washington stand takes top honors

The state’s exhibit received the Paris Air Show’s best-in-show award from among more than 300 exhibitors in the USA Partnership Pavilion. The Choose Washington stand was recognized for its creative aesthetic and welcoming vibe, and for being made of completely sustainable materials – a nod to the state’s initiative to increase sustainability in the aerospace industry to combat climate change.

Click here to listen to a convo between Gov. Inslee and Commerce Director Fong that highlights the Paris Air Show and how the state is leading the way in building a sustainable future across the state.


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