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Fastest-Growing Location for Aerospace Heads to NBAA Air Show in Las Vegas

Between 2007 and 2012, South Carolina’s aerospace industry was the fastest growing in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As one of only three places in the world assembling and delivering wide-body commercial aircraft, the Charleston region is proud to join the South Carolina delegation at this year’s NBAA Show, October 22-24.

Charleston’s recent commercial aviation growth, combined with a deep military and aero manufacturing presence, ensure the region’s emergence as a global aerospace hub. And the momentum continues… This year, Boeing announced a second investment of $1 billion and 2,000 jobs over the next five years, including establishing an engineering design center and adding a 737 MAX propulsion operation. Since launching a 1.2 million ft2 787 Dreamliner plant five years ago, Boeing has added 6,000+ jobs to the Charleston region.

While already home to major aerospace-related military organizations such as Joint Base Charleston and the Space & Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR), Charleston’s commercial aviation sector is rapidly developing— growing from 9% of aviation sector employment in 2007 to nearly half, at 49% today.

Here’s how some of Charleston’s aerospace businesses, suppliers and training programs are contributing to the state’s growing aerospace cluster:

  • Home to Boeing South Carolina —Since Boeing invested in the Charleston region in 2009, South Carolina’s aerospace industry has grown more than 600% within the five-year period. This tremendous growth has caused some to even dub our region “Boeing East.” The latest Dreamliners, which are “Made with Pride in South Carolina,” mark the first time a Boeing commercial aircraft has been produced outside of Washington state since WWII.
  • The Next-Generation of Aerospace Pros—One of the biggest draws for aerospace companies is the availability of high-quality workforce training and education systems. In fact, one of the most experienced workforce training programs in the nation, Ready SC  played an integral role in gearing up Boeing’s South Carolina workforce. Local colleges such as Trident Technical College’s Aeronautical Studies Division and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, offer a practical education for aspiring aerospace experts. Some of our region’s aerospace education programs begin even before college: R.B. Stall High School hosts The Aeronautical Studies Academy and Wando High School offers an aerospace engineering course for 9th-12th grade students.
  • Diverse Aerospace Cluster—The Charleston market is home to 74+ aerospace and aviation-related businesses, including distinguished companies such as Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Booz Allen Hamilton. Smaller, specialized firms supply everything from gears and hoses, to computer systems. Some aerospace companies based in Charleston are making significant strides, including UEC Electronics, a local woman-owned defense contractor which was selected for a Boeing mentoring program, and Hawthorne Global Aviation Services, which acquired development rights for a FBO at Chicago Executive Airport just this month.

To learn more about our region’s recent aerospace news be sure to read our latest coverage in FlightGlobal or check out the data on Charleston’s aviation footprint on our sector page here. Still want to know more? Contact us with your inquiries. And for those of you attending the Paris Air Show, we hope to meet you at South Booth N811.

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