OLYMPIA – Washington’s aerospace manufacturers are drumming up business this week in Ireland, Wales and England, in some cases with the main competitor to the state’s biggest name in airplanes, Boeing.
Gov. Chris Gregoire, other state officials and some business executives made a pitch to use more Washington-made parts in planes made in Europe as part of a trade mission to the United Kingdom. They met with executives from Bombardier in Northern Ireland and with Airbus in Wales.
Bombardier already uses supplies from a few Washington companies in its planes and expects to expand the amount of foreign parts to about 50 percent of the total in the coming years, Gregoire said.
The company’s officials told Washington manufacturers they “need to know who you are and what your capabilities are,” the governor said.
Airbus, the biggest competitor to Boeing in the commercial jetliner market, also said they see “clear room for growth with suppliers from Washington state,” she said.
Gregoire and other members of the trade mission will attend a major air show in Farnborough, England, next week in an effort to make more contacts for one of the state’s growing industries. She said last year’s trade mission to the Paris Air Show generated some of the contacts they were following this year.
The trade mission is privately funded.