South Carolina the ‘it’ state at international airshow, Haley says

By Chuck Crumbo
ccrumbo@scbiznews.com
Published July 10, 2012

Gov. Nikki Haley says South Carolina has emerged as the “it” state at this week’s Farnborough International Airshow in England.

Gov. Nikki Haley
Gov. Nikki Haley
“South Carolina continues to be the buzz because of Boeing,” Haley said this morning during a conference call from England with S.C. news media.

While Haley and S.C. Commerce Department officials are meeting with aerospace executives at the show, no new deals have been closed.

“It’s a great opportunity for CEOs to talk to CEOs,” Haley said of the visit. “And we are talking about the fact that South Carolina is the new ‘it’ state.”

Haley noted that 180 aerospace-related businesses in South Carolina employ 20,000 people. Just last year, the industry invested more than $100 million in the state and created about 900 new jobs, she said.

“And, we’re just getting started,” Haley said, noting that S.C. officials have had about 50 meetings with various aerospace firms at the airshow.

The airshow allows state officials to work on lining up new prospects, Haley added. “It’s the starting point of the CEO of the state asking the CEO of the company: We want you to come visit and see what we have to offer.”

Aerospace firms that supply Boeing are interested in the state because of the business climate, workforce training, and the fact that S.C. is one of the “least unionized” states in the country, the governor said.

The S.C. delegation also has met with executives of U.K.-based GKN Aerospace, a first-tier supplier that plans to invest a minimum of $38 million over the next six years and create 278 jobs opening in Orangeburg.

GKN’s S.C. facility will assemble composite fuselages for Honda’s new Hondajet, a light business aircraft being built in Greensboro, N.C.

Haley said meetings with companies like Boeing and GKN are part of the state’s efforts to make sure everyone is happy and to see what the state can do to help grow the firms’ business.

During the conference call, Haley also said that Boeing and Air India, which is the customer of four Dreamliners parked on the flight line at North Charleston, are still working on a delivery date.

“Everything I’ve heard about that is that it’s going smoothly,” Haley said.

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