April 6, 2016

During helicopter expo, state touts aerospace development, seeks to land additional production facilities

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Gov. Matt Bevin opened the Helicopter Association International (HAI) HELI-EXPO at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville with a ribbon cutting on March 1 before touring the show’s exhibits and meeting with some of the industry’s most influential leaders.

Its first time in Louisville, the expo is the aviation industry’s largest annual trade show. The event attracted about 20,000 guests. Gov. Bevin proclaimed March 1, 2016 as “Champions of Vertical Aviation Day” in Kentucky.

During his tour, Gov. Bevin spoke with representatives from roughly a dozen companies that either operate in Kentucky, or may be looking to establish a relationship. Those include: Safran, RJ Corman, Blackhawk Composites, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Airbus, Bell Helicopter and MD Helicopters, among others.

Kentucky’s aviation and aerospace industry grew at a substantial rate in recent years, with 52 facilities currently employing nearly 15,000 people across the state. Last year alone, 12 aviation or aerospace facilities announced plans to locate or expand in Kentucky, totaling $161.5 million in investment and 585 new full-time jobs.

Aerospace products and parts was Kentucky’s greatest export in 2015 for the third straight year and the seventh time in eight years, with more than $8.7 billion in products shipped out of the state. That’s a more than 12-percent increase over the previous year’s mark of nearly $7.8 billion.

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