With Boeing forecasting huge aircraft demand over the next two decades, Pierce County aerospace industry stakeholders spent today discussing how to make sure the region maintains and grows its role in the global market.

“We have a built-in advantage. Our aerospace heritage goes back generations. But we know that's not enough – not in today's hyper competitive business climate,” County Executive Pat McCarthy told 160 people attending the third annual Pierce County Aerospace Summit, which she co-hosted with the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County.

A release from the EDB confirmed the participation of several aerospace-involved organizations and businesses, including General Plastics, ThyssenKrupp Aerospace, AIM Aerospace, Toray Composites America, the U.S. Export Assistance Center and WorkForce Central. 

Most of the summit's participants agreed that Pierce County and the state are going in the right direction, as evidenced by Boeing's decision to build the 777X in Washington state, including the tail assembly at its plant in the Pierce County community of Frederickson. Other highlights include expansions by local suppliers as well as Boeing's successful run last week at the Farnborough International Airshow, where it announced orders for 201 airplanes.

“These are important wins for us in Pierce County because we are all part of the Puget Sound shop floor,” said Bruce Kendall, president of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County.

In the Aerospace Summit's keynote address, a Boeing executive presented the company's Current Market Outlook through 2033. Boeing now projects a global need for 36,770 new airplanes with a market value of $5.2 trillion. About one-third of that growth will occur in the Asia Pacific region.

 “We are forecasting a strong, growing market that's driven by customers flying where they want, when they want, especially in emerging markets,” said Jim Billing, director of market analysis for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With the most comprehensive wide-body lineup in the industry, Boeing will be able to meet customers needs now and in the future.”

However, Aerospace Summit participants agreed that competition for that manufacturing growth is intensifying.

“We're not competing just with Airbus, but with the states and countries that want to take some of what we have here and get those investments in their markets as well,” Kendall said.