Boeing ramping up Alabama aerospace employment, investment

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With a legacy in Alabama that spans more than half a century, Boeing Co. is looking toward the future with plans for new jobs, investment and breakthrough developments at its operations in the state.

The aerospace manufacturer, which has about 2,700 Alabama employees, expects to add 400 more by 2020, along with an additional capital investment of $70 million.

“As the leading aerospace manufacturer in Alabama, Boeing supports a diverse portfolio of programs from missile defense programs such as the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system – which recently successfully intercepted a mock Intercontinental ballistic missile during a test — to space exploration programs such as the Space Launch System family of rockets that will take us to Mars,” said Ken Tucker, director of State and Local Government Operations for Boeing in Alabama.

“Boeing is investing in the future of Alabama as a center of innovation, continuing to bring highly skilled jobs and growth to the region.”

The company is one of the key success stories touted by business recruiters as they seek to expand the state’s aviation and aerospace industry. Last week, the team was working at the Paris Air Show, where leaders of the world’s top aerospace firms convened.

“Boeing’s continued growth in Alabama is a testament to the company’s strategic vision, as well as the skillful execution by its workforce in the state,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Boeing innovation in Alabama is key to our nation’s defense and space programs, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.”

A major Boeing missile project in Alabama is the Ground-based Midcourse Defense initiative. (Missile Defense Agency)

Alabama operations

Boeing’s Alabama operations are centered at two main facilities in Huntsville, in the Jetplex Industrial Park and at Redstone Gateway.

The company first established a presence in Huntsville in 1962 to support the new U.S. space programs, and today the local operations provide a wide variety of innovations and capabilities for both the commercial and defense sectors.

In addition to the successful performance of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, which happened at the end of May, another recent development for Boeing in Alabama is the expansion of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Seeker facility in Huntsville.

The 28,000-square-foot facility will include machinery and other capabilities to support the missile defense program for the U.S. Army.

The expansion is progressing well and is on track to provide enhanced production capabilities by the end of the year, said Jennifer Wollman, a Boeing spokeswoman.

Other Boeing operations in Alabama include the Huntsville Design Center, which supports 20 major programs such as the new 777X, 737 Max and 787, and Boeing Research & Technology, a research center that develops future aerospace solutions for defense and commercial businesses.

Huntsville also is home to NASA’s Space Launch System program, where Boeing is responsible for the design, development, testing and manufacture of the core and upper stages, as well as the avionics for the nation’s next-generation rocket to transport people and cargo to deep space.

Aerospace giant Boeing opened its Alabama Research & Technology Center in Huntsville in June 2015, building on its long-standing presence in the Rocket City. (Boeing)

Moving forward

recent economic impact study showed the company contributes more than $2 billion annually to the state’s economy and sustains nearly 8,400 direct and indirect jobs.

The study also showed that Boeing:

  • Supported 8,393 direct and industry jobs in the state.
  • Distributed an annual payroll of $264 million in Alabama.
  • Spent an additional $749 million in the state, including $532 million to suppliers.
  • Contributed nearly $1.7 million to nonprofit organizations.

When the study was released, Boeing also announced an additional 400 jobs and $70 million in capital investment by 2020.

“While our employment in the state currently remains steady with approximately 2,700 employees, we expect to see that increase in the coming years,” Wollman said. “We also continue moving forward with our capital investment plans and expect to have more to share on that later this year.”

Republished with permission of Alabama NewsCenter.

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