City, state ‘fishing’ in Paris

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Alabama's site at the Paris Air Show.

Alabama’s site at the Paris Air Show.

Andalusia is prominently featured in the State of Alabama’s Internet publication “Made in Alabama,” targeting the Paris Air Show.

Some 2,100 global exhibitors are on display and 151,000 trade visitors are in attendance at the 2013 Paris Air Show that ends June 23. Alabama has a full delegation, including Gov. Robert Bentley and commerce chief Greg Canfield, and Covington County and Andalusia are represented as well.

Made in Alabama reported that Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson and other Andalusia officials plan to use their time at the Paris Air Show to meet with a number of aerospace and aviation companies the city already is pursuing, or those companies officials would like to pursue.

Johnson said Monday that this kind of publicity could prove extremely valuable.

“And it didn’t cost the city a dime,” he said.

The publication also reported that more than $50 million has been invested in the South Alabama Regional Airport and adjacent industrial park over the past 20 years, and that the airport sells about a million gallons of jet fuel for military aircraft each year because of its ability to “hot refuel” military aircraft.

South Alabama Regional Airport is home to Vector Aerospace, a Canadian compay tat was acquired by Euroopter Holding, a subsidiary of Airbus parent EADS, in 2011. Airbus is currently. building its first U.S. final assembly line in Mobile.

SARA is also home to DRS, a fixed-wing overhaul maintenance company that’s leasing two large hangars for work on Lockheed Martin C-130 military transport aircraft and other larger planes. Local officials first began talking to DRS about leasing the hangars at SARA two years ago at the Paris Air Show.

“I look at these trips to Paris, London and to other gatherings like fishing trips,” Johnson said. “If you want to catch fish, you’ve got to go fishing. And that’s what we’re going. We’re going to where the aviation companies are. They’re always at these airshows. So that’s the value in going.”


The full article about Andalusia can be viewed at