Gov. Bentley to travel to London to recruit aerospace jobs - - The News for South Mississippi

Gov. Bentley to travel to London to recruit aerospace jobs

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Gov. Bentley discusses upcoming trip with reporter Max Reiss (Source: WSFA 12 News) Gov. Bentley discusses upcoming trip with reporter Max Reiss (Source: WSFA 12 News)

The titans of the international aerospace and aviation industry will converge on Farnborough outside of London starting July 14.

After several years of some major successes in recruiting the industry to the state of Alabama, state officials like Governor Robert Bentley and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield will arrive for another year as real players in the industry.

"You know when we recruited Airbus, we really became the star of the show there," Gov. Bentley said during an interview Thursday.

The governor will first travel to Nashville this weekend to speak at a meeting of the National Governors Association Committee on Economic Development of which Gov. Bentley is the chair. From there he'll return to Alabama and then fly to London by way of Atlanta.

"A lot of people don't realize what the air show is. They think it's a vacation. They think you go over there and watch airplanes fly." Gov. Bentley says of some of the public perception of the trip, which he's making for the second time. The governor calls the trip a "totally working environment" during which he's going to be meeting nonstop with companies with some kind of interest in opening operations in the state of Alabama.

Airbus was by far the biggest economic development get for Gov. Bentley, despite a sluggish state economy that's seen some of the smallest GDP growth in the country in the past year. Alabama put in a proposal to get the Boeing 777x assembly plant project when the Washington-based aviation giant put the project out for bid. Boeing later reopened negotiations with its machinists union in the state of Washington and eventually decided to keep the project there.

Alabama wasn't entirely shut out however from the Boeing sweepstakes. The state was awarded one of several Boeing engineering facilities that will employ several hundred people in the Huntsville area.

Airbus is expected to begin operations assembling the A320 family of aircraft at its Mobile plant in January of 2015. The plant is expected to employ about a thousand people.

Bentley said of his role at the Farnborough event, "Last year I met with 40 CEOs. I don't know how many we're going to meet with this year but we're hoping we're going to have announcements this year that have resulted from our visits in the past to the air show."

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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