NEW YORK The Arkansas
State Chamber of Commerce announced last week the formation of
the Arkansas Aerospace Alliance, a trade association intended
to promote the aerospace and aviation industry in the
"This alliance will build future
success and achievement onto Arkansass strong foundation
in aerospace and aviation," Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said in a
statement from the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.
The alliance will have an
advisory board and a board of directors consisting of aerospace
industry leaders, as well as component suppliers, manufacturers
and state agency workers, Robin Pelton, the Arkansas Economic
Development Commissions aerospace sector manager, told
One of the goals of the group
will be to increase aerospace exports from the state, Pelton
said. Arkansas rank fell to 22 among the 50 states in
aerospace exports in 2010 from 16th place in 2009, according to
the alliances website.
The alliance came about after 35
executives representing the aerospace or related industries met
in October to discuss plans to expand the sector. Their goal
for strategic development was fourfold and included lobbying at
the state and national levels, training a skilled work force,
coordinating customers along the supply chain within and
outside of Arkansas and shaping long-term economic development
in the state.
"It made sense that we needed to
coordinate activity because we are a small state without a lot
resources," Pelton said.
News for Arkansas
aerospace industry has been mixed in recent cycles, with
bankrupt aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft announcing in
November that it is closing its doors in Little Rock as part of
a larger restructuring (
amm.com, Nov. 12). At the same time, aircraft and
parts manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin Corp., AAR Corp.
and Triumph Airborne Structures Inc. are moving to expand in
the state, she said.
"A lot of our machine component
parts folks are doing well, and theyre moving their
facilities to expand," Pelton said.
The alliance hopes to attract
companies like Herndon, Va.-based Airbus Americas, which will
be attending the alliances aerospace summit in March,