This illustration released by XCOR shows a two-seat rocket ship capable of suborbital flights to altitudes more than 37 miles above the Earth. The Lynx, about the size of a small private plane, is expected to begin flying in 2010, according to developer Xcor Aerospace, which planned to release details of the design at a press conference on Wednesday. (AP Photo/XCOR, Mike Massee)
PRESS RELEASE: MONTGOMERY – Governor Bob Riley on Tuesday said he will travel to the Farnborough International Air Show outside London next week to work on an agreement with an aerospace company that could bring several hundred new jobs to Alabama.
“I’m very optimistic the result of this economic development mission will be new jobs for Alabamians. We continue working hard to bring new jobs to our state, and we will go anywhere to show companies that we have the skilled workforce they need to make their companies successful,” said Governor Riley.
Governor Riley couldn’t reveal the name of the company or the timing of a possible announcement, citing confidentiality agreements that are standard when industries are being recruited by the state. However, he did say the company is a well-known industry leader and that, if the recruitment is successful, groundbreaking for a new plant in Alabama would take place before the end of the year.
Neal Wade, Director of the Alabama Development Office, said the potential agreement shows Alabama continues making progress in expanding into the aerospace sector.
“Aerospace is a growing force in Alabama’s economy and a big part of our job is to make sure it continues to grow here,” said Neal Wade. “Aerospace contributes more than $8 billion in payroll to the Alabama economy, and that is an increase of 37 percent since 2002.”
A delegation of about 60 local officials, chamber of commerce leaders and other economic developers from Alabama will also be attending the air show.
While at the air show, Governor Riley will also meet with several other aerospace companies, including some that are already major employers in Alabama such as Boeing, GKN and EADS.
He and Wade will also meet with officials from Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. The three states and Alabama work together as part of the Aerospace Alliance, a group formed in 2009 to attract major aerospace projects and jobs to the Gulf Coast region. The Alliance’s first priority is to help secure the KC-45 aerial refueling tanker for the region, a project that would bring 48,000 direct and indirect jobs to the country, including thousands to the Gulf Coast. If selected by the Pentagon, the KC-45 would be assembled in Mobile.
Before returning to Alabama, Governor Riley will travel to Ireland and Northern Ireland for several days of meeting with high-ranking government officials. Among the Irish officials Governor Riley will meet are Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowan, Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Martin, and Trade Minister Batt O’Keefe. In Northern Ireland, the Governor will hold talks with First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Trade Minister Arlene Foster and the U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly.
Last year, Alabama companies exported $73 million worth of goods to Ireland.
“Trade plays a very important role in Alabama’s economy and we must continue building trade relationships overseas to grow our economy at home,” said Governor Riley.
Alabama’s top exports to Ireland include aluminum alloy plates, industrial machinery, wood products, plastics, and electrical machinery
The Governor departs for the overseas mission on Saturday, July 17 and returns to the state on Sunday, July 25.