Airport Improvements Could Provide Lift for Regional Aerospace Push | Trade and Industry Development

Airport Improvements Could Provide Lift for Regional Aerospace Push

Dec 09, 2009

The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport has a $193 million improvement project in the wings. Birmingham's next growth industry could arrive through the gates of an enhanced airport.

Economic development officials are convinced that improvements to the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport will be instrumental in helping the area lure new industry -- especially new aerospace companies already eyeing the Southeast.

Neal Wade, director of the Alabama Development Office, says he wants Birmingham to figure more prominently when officials recruit aerospace projects, a key priority in efforts to modernize the state's economy.

That should get a boost with a planned $193 million terminal improvement project that airport officials hope to begin in 2011 and could really take off if a proposed $351 million airport master plan is realized by 2014.

"We're going to do everything we can to convince the leadership at the airport and here in Birmingham that they've got the potential," Wade says. "We deal with aerospace companies all over the world, and they are looking to come in and grow here."

ADO has identified aerospace along with automotive and biotechnology as three main growth and industries the state will target in the years ahead. The Birmingham area is already active in the other two, but, apart from a few examples, is not as engaged in aerospace.Huntsville and Mobile have already tapped into aerospace as a growth industry. Wade says Birmingham is capable of doing the same.

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