County strikes up partnership with Japanese airport

Agreement to benefit aerospace industry in both regions
By Nicholas Johnson | Apr 19, 2017
Courtesy of: Centrair Airport Representatives of Snohomish County recently traveled to Tokoname, Japan, to forge an agreement between the county and Chubu Centrair International Airport. This photo shows county representatives with Japanese officials on Friday, April 14, at the Chubu Centrair International Airport.

Snohomish County airport officials have reached their first-ever agreement with a Japanese airport to work together to develop each other’s aerospace industries.

County officials representing Paine Field Airport traveled to Chubu Centrair International Airport in Aichi Prefecture on April 14 to complete a memorandum of cooperation establishing a cooperative relationship between the airports.

Aichi, located near the port city of Nagoya more than 200 miles from Tokyo, is known as an aerospace manufacturing hub.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said the agreement would benefit the county in multiple ways.

“By facilitating a cooperative relationship between Paine Field Airport and Chubu Centrair Airport, we provide the opportunity for Snohomish County and Aichi Prefecture to work together to further the success of each region’s aerospace industry, as well as strengthen existing ties between our governments,” Somers said.

The agreement will provide benefits to both airports and regions through the exchange of information for successfully operating airports that heavily support each region’s aerospace industry, specifically in aircraft manufacturing, as well as large air cargo freight and transportation. In addition, the airports will provide mutual assistance for projects carried out by both parties.

Executive Director Kendee Yamaguchi of Somers’ office and County Councilmember Stephanie Wright traveled to Japan on the county’s behalf. Wright also serves as board treasurer of the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle.

“The aerospace industry and members of the community play an important role in the vitality of Snohomish County’s economy. I’m excited to see the further growth of our aerospace industry that this agreement will bring,” Wright said.

Bill McSherry, vice president of Government Operations for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said Boeing supports the agreement.

“These two airports, while continents apart, are linked by Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner,” he said. “In fact, both airports play an integral role in the manufacturing process of Boeing’s newest airplanes and are key to our long-term success.”

Japan’s consulate general in Seattle, Masahiro Omura, said the agreement is part of an existing initiative for regional cooperation between aerospace manufacturing hubs in Washington State and central Japan.

“This MOC is one of the latest achievements under the broader Memorandum of Cooperation on Economic and Trade Relations signed last June between the Governments of Japan and Washington State,” Omura said.

The agreement signed last June highlights ten sectors for intended cooperation, and aerospace is one of them, with the aim of “…improving systems for developing, manufacturing and maintaining aircraft between the civil aerospace industries of Both Sides, together with promoting exchange of information and cooperation to benefit the cultivation of skilled labor in the appropriate fields of Both Sides.”

Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, said the agreement represents yet another example of the state’s proactive approach to engaging with business partners around the world.

“Trade and international investment are vitally important to strengthening communities and our statewide economy,” Bonlender said. “Ever since Japan Airlines began using Moses Lake airfield in Grant County nearly 50 years ago, aerospace industry relationships have continued to thrive between our two regions.”

Aerospace is the largest industry in Snohomish County. The county boasts 46,000 workers spanning 220 firms, including Boeing, Bombardier, Comac, Embraer and Sukoi, and employs 50 percent of the state’s aerospace workforce.

Paine Field is home to The Boeing Company’s assembly plant for the 747, 767, 777, and 787 aircraft.

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