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Arkansas Aerospace Industry Soars at Farnborough International Airshow

 June 22, 2022

This summer, the aerospace industry will be flying into England for the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow, and the state of Arkansas will be well-represented.

The Farnborough Airshow, one of the largest aerospace and defense industry events in the world, will be held July 18-22, marking the first time the event will take place in-person in four years.

Held since 1948, the Farnborough International Airshow is a leading aerospace industry event that allows executives and government leaders to learn about industry trends and to network. Event organizers anticipate that more $192 billion worth of business deals will be made over the course of the event.

This year, approximately 1,500 exhibitors representing 96 countries will attend the event. Several representatives of the Arkansas aerospace industry will be among the exhibitors. Three of the Farnborough International Airshow’s four platinum sponsors—Airbus, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon Technologies—are doing or have announced plans to do business in Arkansas.

There will also be a delegation of state and local officials on hand, including Governor Asa Hutchinson, and members of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission team, promoting Arkansas at the airshow. The Arkansas delegation, including representatives from Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, the Little Rock Regional Chamber, Runway Group, Galley Support Innovations, Arkansas World Trade Center, and Arkansas Aerospace & Defense Alliance, has plans to meet with multiple aerospace and defense companies over the course of the week. Arkansas will also have a booth at the airshow with members of Arkansas’ delegation on hand to answer questions about the state’s aerospace industry. Arkansas’ presence at the airshow will serve as a resource for aerospace industry representatives who want to learn more about doing business in the state.

“The Farnborough International Airshow is a key opportunity for Arkansas to showcase its excellence in the aerospace industry on a global scale. The airshow is the most important aerospace industry event of the year, as it brings together key players in the industry from across the world,” said Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston.

The aerospace industry in Arkansas plays a significant role in the state’s economy. Aircraft and aircraft-related parts and services is Arkansas’ top export. The state exported just over $1 billion worth of aerospace and defense related goods in 2020 alone.

Forty-eight aerospace and defense industry manufacturers are currently doing business in Arkansas. These manufacturers employ thousands of Arkansans across the state, producing critical parts and assemblies. In Arkansas, there are 8,276 employees in aerospace and defense manufacturing, of which 4,050 directly engage in aerospace products and parts manufacturing.

Arkansas provides a pro-business environment that enables aerospace and defense companies to prosper. Prominent aerospace companies, including Lockheed Martin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Dassault Falcon Jet, have found success in Arkansas.

“We are proud to say that the aerospace industry thrives in Arkansas. The state’s business-friendly climate and strong workforce have contributed to making Arkansas an aerospace industry hub,” said Clint O’Neal, Arkansas Economic Development Commission Deputy Director and Executive Vice President of Global Business.

The future of the aerospace industry in Arkansas looks bright. More aerospace manufacturers are locating to and expanding in Arkansas. In May 2022, Lockheed Martin and Airbus announced that the LMXT strategic tanker aircraft’s aerial refueling boom system will be manufactured in Arkansas.

Another major development in Arkansas’ aerospace sector is taking place at Fort Smith’s Ebbing Air National Guard Base, which the Department of the Air Force recently selected as the new location for the 425th Fighter Squadron, a Republic of Singapore air force F-16 Fighting Falcon training unit. In June 2021, the Department of the Air Force also announced that the Ebbing Air National Guard Base is its preferred location to establish an F-35 Lightning II training center for Foreign Military Sales participants. Fort Smith’s Ebbing ANG Base is an increasingly critical location for the U.S. and its international allies to promote aerospace security.

The aerospace industry is flying high in The Natural State, and Arkansas is set to spread its swings at the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow.