Will Airbus build an engineering center in Washington state?

Jun 20, 2013

Airbus is reportedly considering expanding its presence in Washington state. Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton says, if it happens, that kind of investment here by Boeing’s archrival would help the state solidify its status as an aerospace mecca.

Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor spoke with the Seattle Times at the Paris Air Show. He said Airbus will likely add two more engineering centers in the U.S. in the next 10 years, and they’d seriously consider locating one in Washington.

Airbus already has 600 employees at engineering centers in Wichita and Mobile, Alabama. An Airbus spokeswoman said in an email the company has no plans to build additional centers right now, but that Washington would be a good candidate later on because of the skilled workforce here.

Hamilton says it would be good news for the state as Boeing moves work elsewhere.

"If you could get a major engineering center from Airbus here to tap into the talent pool that is being laid off by Boeing or may simply want to leave Boeing for their own reasons or take advantage of new engineers, that would be a huge win for the state," Hamilton said. 

Airbus may also want to get closer to its suppliers here. Last year, the company spent $180 million on supplies and parts from Washington state. Boeing employs about 85,000 people in Washington, though it’s announced thousands of layoffs this year.