This year’s Farnborough International Airshow was a huge success for Greater Seattle and Washington-based aerospace companies. As our research illustrates, the UK is an invaluable trade and investment partner for our region, and to be there for the return of Farnborough after a 4-year hiatus marked the revival of the aerospace industry after the prolonged negative impacts of Covid-19.
Boeing inked a number of high profile deals, including Delta Air Lines’ purchase of 100 of its 737 MAX 10 jetliners, a $13.5B deal that is in addition to another $12B for the 737 Max 8, 737 Max 10 and 777x.
“We saw a little bit of that trickle of optimism in Dubai and it’s just so strong here in Farnborough,” Robert Payne, vice president of marketing and communications for economic development group Greater Seattle Partners, told the Business Journal in a call from the event, referencing the Dubai Airshow in November.
The activity, Payne said, is “proof that we’re getting back to pre-Covid times with better planes, better technology and better processes in place to ensure that the aerospace industry is safe and innovative.”
While Boeing’s 777x delighted spectators with incredible aerial displays and informative on-the-ground tours if its new, more fuel efficient technologies out on the tarmac, a host of Washington aerospace companies were inside the tradeshow showcasing their products and solutions from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence to advanced manufacturing and new forms of electric and hydrogen propulsion.
In another article detailing Boeing’s plans to expand its supply of sustainable aviation fuel, we gave readers a sense of what other local companies were there to evolve the aerospace industry.
The event has also provided a platform for Washington state to showcase its role in the development of sustainable technologies, said Robert Payne, marketing and communications lead for economic development group Greater Seattle Partners. He pointed to exhibits by companies like Everett-based electric propulsion startup MagniX and ZeroAvia, which has a research division for its hydrogen retrofit technology at Snohomish County’s Paine Field airport.
In addition to connecting with our friends in commercial aircraft and defense, we met with a number of companies in the eVTOL and space sectors, as well as other local hometown brands such as Blue Origin and Microsoft.
Boeing Site Tour in Sheffield
Towards the latter end of the show, a number of us took a side trip to Sheffield where we had a very interesting visit to Boeing’s advanced manufacturing facility to see how rock star engineers are achieving greater efficiency in production through new technologies and innovative processes for producing wing flap actuators. They’ve also reimagined their supply chain to be more resilient and sustainable.
We also toured the adjacent Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) to learn how it is supporting talent development with novel approaches for workforce training. The place is filled with robots, researchers and methods for capturing and analyzing data that will blow your mind. They’re really setting the bar for empowering top talent to be innovative.
Future Workforce for Aerospace
Our regional academic institutions are also preparing for the future of aerospace. For example, the University of Washington is breaking ground next month on its Interdisciplinary Engineering Building. The $90 million building is being funded in part with a $10 million donation from Boeing. It will house the AI Education Institute, which will help the college revamp its curriculum across disciplines to make AI and machine learning a fundamental element of the programs.