Paris Air Show an opportunity to tell Huntsville’s story

single-meta-cal June 23, 2023

Here in Huntsville, we like things that fly. Whether it has wings, rotors or a solid rocket booster, we’ve gained altitude in the aerospace industry since Marshall Space Flight Center opened in 1960.

Huntsville’s excellence in aerospace is one of many reasons why successful companies locate and thrive here. From the innovative work performed at Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Blue Origin to NASA’s successful Artemis 1 launch last November, Huntsville has cemented its position as a dynamic aerospace hub.

Alabama has further benefited from the depth of Huntsville’s aerospace success and boasts a five-year growth rate that is nearly double the national average in the aerospace, space and aviation sector. Along with 14,200 aerospace manufacturing jobs, the state is home to about 3,900 aerospace engineers, most of whom reside in Huntsville, ranking Alabama fifth in the nation.

Why Huntsville is known as “A Smart Place.”

Our secret is out, but that’s no reason to throttle down. While our reputation is growing throughout the United States, we want and need to be competitive on a global stage. That’s one reason I was proud to join Alabama’s economic development delegation at this year’s Paris Air Show. Along with Alabama’s Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, U.S. Sen. Katie Britt, U.S. Rep. Dale Strong, UAH President Chuck Karr, representatives from Huntsville’s Airport Authority and the Chamber, we worked from dawn to dusk to meet new industry leaders and strengthen relationships with aerospace companies that already have a presence here. Face time with these industry leaders is crucial to their success and ours.

Thanks to a well-organized schedule, we engaged in dozens of meetings with key decision-makers. We promoted our advanced manufacturing initiatives and state-of-the-art career tech centers. We touted regional partnerships between our two-year colleges and four-year universities that yield top-tier graduates.

In turn, we were able to learn about developing trends and undertones in the global aerospace industry. Conversations centered on evolving propulsion systems that will take us to Mars, nuclear fusion, aerial automotive taxis (the Jetsons are coming sooner than you think), and the integration of artificial intelligence.

Our return on investment from the Paris Air Show is substantial. The unsurpassed concentration of key aerospace movers and shakers provided us with introductions and a list of prospects for new opportunities. Any time we can tell our incredible story to job creators, particularly in the aerospace industry, we give lift to Huntsville’s leadership role in all things space.

group of people standing in front of a red Made in Alabama sign at the state's booth at the Paris Air Show

Alabama’s economic development delegation at this year’s Paris Air Show included a strong bench of Huntsville-Madison County representatives from the City of Huntsville, Madison County Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Airport Authority, UAH, NASA and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.