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Governor Gregoire Talked With Airbus About Possible Plant In Washington

Derek Wang

When it comes to the aerospace business, Washington state has long been considered Boeing country. But Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said Wednesday that she has been building a business relationship with Boeing's European rival, Airbus.


Governor Gregoire says the talks with Airbus go back several years, when the European company was talking about building a plant somewhere in the US. She says first she talked to Boeing. They told her to go for it. So she called Airbus.

Gregoire: "We had some initial conversations with them but it became clear that they wanted to locate in the East and most particularly they wanted to locate in the Southeast."

Last week Airbus announced that it was setting up a production site in Alabama.

Gregoire: "So I don't expect them to open up another plant in the United States. I think that the plant in Alabama is all that one can expect for the foreseeable future."

Still, Gregoire says she's continuing to talk with Airbus, especially at this week's Farnborough Air Show in London. Gregoire says she's talking about aerospace suppliers based in Washington, because of the potential for new business with Airbus.

Gregoire: "They're going to need the high class caliber suppliers that we have in Washington state that's close to where they'll be manufacturing in Alabama."

Gregoire says 740 companies that make parts for airplanes have offices in Washington state. And that those companies already do business with Airbus, about $200 million worth every year.

I'm Derek Wang, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW

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