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More, More, More – Day 2 in Paris

Capitalizing on a packed first day, Team Mobile once again hit the ground running on Tuesday at the Paris Air Show – the last day for most of the delegation. The day was highlighted with six scheduled meetings for, followed by an evening reception hosted by the Mobile Bay delegation for more than 180 aerospace executives.

 

Interesting for some readers to note, getting to the airshow fascinates me. From our hotel, we walk about a ½ mile to the train station, ride it to the Le Bourget station (that’s the name of the air field where the show takes place). From there we wait in line to board a bus taking us about a mile and a half to the show. Traffic as you might imagine is incredible – busses, cars, taxis, ubers, scooters, motorcycles all filling the street. We’ve seen attendees riding skateboards and pushing scooters trying to get to the show too. Our bus driver yesterday pretty much stopped on the side of the road and dumped us out, rather than taking us into the show’s bus depot. Needless to say patience rules the day when getting to and from the show – especially since it’s been in the mid-90s while we’ve been here. Everyone’s melting – I especially feel bad for the men in suits and ties. I’m thankful for a dress. HA!

 

On Wednesday, several of us from the Chamber, Mobile Airport Authority and University of South Alabama will head back to the show for one final day. This wrap up will give us a chance to make some cold calls on potential suppliers, and also walk the show. Walking it, according to Troy Wayman , our VP of economic development,  “Puts in perspective just how significant the aerospace industry is as a global employer.” Not only are airplane manufacturers at the show, but so are their parts suppliers for engines, landing gear, seat manufacturers, etc. And then the suppliers’ suppliers are also here – those who make rubber, leather, nuts and bolts and more. I’ll try and get some photos from around the show tomorrow and share them.

 

Highlights from today included:

  • A meeting today with Guy Hicks with Airbus. It’s always great to sit down and talk with him about the latest news coming from the Mobile final assembly line, the engineering center and military facility at Mobile Regional Airport, and get some insight into future plan for growth. While at the show we had the chance to see the Airbus A321 NEO (new engine optimization) fly. Although the NEO is not under assembly in Mobile, it was pretty cool to see an aircraft that looks incredibly similar to what’s being made back home flying over the world’s stage at the air show.

Several members of the Mobile delegation at the Airbus meeting, including Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Airbus’s Guy Hicks and Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson.

 

  • This is bring written in advance of tonight’s Mobile Bay Aerospace Reception, so I can’t share any photos now, but I will on social media and I’ll add some to Wednesday’s blog. But for the last four years I’ve been working the Farnborough and Paris air shows – and many years prior to that – the Mobile Area Chamber has been part of a partnership with Alabama Power, Baldwin County Commission, Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, City of Mobile, Mobile Airport Authority, Mobile County Commission, PowerSouth and University of South Alabama to host identified current and potential aerospace companies at a reception. We have more than 180 attending this year’s reception and some of the companies represented include Airbus, AKKA, Daher, Dassault Systemes, Hutchinson, Lockheed Martin, MAAS Aviation, M TECHNOLOGIE, Magellan, PPG, Safran, Segers Group, ST Aerospace, UTC Aerospace Systems, and others. Gov. Kay Ivey will welcome everyone tonight and it will be the first chance many of our existing aerospace company executives will have to meet her.

 

  • Reports from three prospect meetings today were very good. Overall the Chamber’s senior project manager David Rodgers was pleased with this year’s meetings and noted that interest in Mobile remains high. Several attendees were noted they were pleasantly surprised how aware companies are about the growth of the Port of Mobile.

 

 

  • The Chamber, City of Mobile, Mobile County and Mobile Airport Authority met with several executives from ST Aerospace – the parent company of Mobile’s VT MAE. The group got to see first hand other work the holding company does in addition to the MRO (maintenance, repair and operation) that takes place in Mobile. As VT MAE is Mobile Aeroplex’s largest tenant and the largest aerospace employer in Mobile County, checking in with this important partner while at the air show is always a good time.

Several members of Team Mobile visited with ST Aerospace while at the air show. 

 

Since I mentioned the Airbus A380 yesterday, I wanted to share with you a couple more photos of this beautiful aircraft in flight today at the show. I was lucky enough fly on one this spring, and when we were in Atlanta heading over here, there were several posters noting ATL would be flying in/out A380s soon. That’s it for now. I’ll post more tomorrow. Thanks for following our blog!