This month, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance joined the South Carolina Delegation at Farnborough International Airshow—one of the largest aerospace exhibitions in the world. At the show, the CRDA met with international aerospace companies to discuss the exciting expansion and relocation opportunities in the region.
Between 2007 and 2012, South Carolina’s aerospace industry was the fastest growing in the nation, largely thanks to Boeing, which has been instrumental in establishing the Charleston region as a major player in the industry. Since locating to North Charleston, the aerospace giant has only continued to grow:
- Construction has continued on Boeing Propulsion South Carolina. The plant, created to make engine inlet components for the new 737 MAX single-aisle passenger jet, is expected to open in mid-2015 and add even more jobs by July 2015
- Last year, the company announced Charleston would be one of the locations receiving a new Boeing IT Center of Excellence. The company plans to add about 600 information technology jobs to North Charleston over the next three years as a result
- In 2011, Boeing unveiled a major state-of-the-art Interiors Responsibility Center (IRC),where interiors (including stow bins, closets, partition, overhead flight crew rests and video control stations) are manufactured for the 787 Dreamliner
As Boeing’s work in Charleston continues to diversify, so does the market’s aerospace sector. In this year alone, Charleston has welcomed a handful of aerospace supplier expansions to the region:
Senior Aerospace with the South Carolina delegation at Farnborough 2014.
- Senior Aerospace AMT – Manufacturer of structural parts in the large commercial jet market, Senior Aerospace AMT announced this month the opening of satellite operations, creating 60 new skilled jobs
- JBE Inc. – Last month, the automotive and aerospace supplier announced plans to expand its company to grow its aerospace work, creating approximately 20 new jobs
- Pacific Rim Aerospace (PacRim) – A provider of aerospace engineering applications, PacRim announced in May the opening of an office expected to create at least 100 jobs
- Textron Aviation – In April, Fortune 500 company, Textron Aviation, announced it would expand its footprint by bringing two recently acquired companies, Mechtronix Inc. and Opinicus, to the area. The new acquisitions will combine with Textron’s current aviation unit in Berkley County to form a new subsidy, TRU Simulation + Training, which currently employs 225 people
- Kaman Engineering Services – In February, Kaman Aerospace Group’s subsidiary, Kaman Engineering Services, announced its expansion to support not only Boeing, but the entire Southeast region’s growing aerospace industry
It’s no wonder that Charleston continues to be one of the fastest-growing U.S. mid-size metros for aircraft manufacturing, and is among the nation’s top 10 mid-size metros for workforce growth in key occupations such as aircraft mechanics, computer hardware engineers and electrical engineers.
To fill the demand for high-skilled workers in this fast-growing industry, Charleston offers some of the most experienced workforce training programs in the nation, for example the renowned readySC program, Trident Technical College’s Aeronautical Studies Division and the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Charleston Campus. Aerospace engineering curriculum is also available for 9th-12th grade students at select high schools in the region.
To learn more about our region’s aerospace industry, check out the data on Charleston’s aviation footprint on our sector page here. Need additional information? Contact us with your inquiries.