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The Largest Aircraft Manufacturing Sites in the United States

Posted by IndustrySelect on Monday, July 19, 2021

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4 MIN. READ

The Wright Brothers' original plane contained only seven major pieces. Many of those same parts still exist in today’s aircraft, such as the rudder, wings and fuselage. Aircraft manufacturing processes have added quite a few parts as flight developed over the years. In fact, a Boeing 747-8 needs about 6 million parts!

Each piece of the modern-day aircraft needs special parts manufacturers and assemblers. Engine manufacturing alone has several sub-sectors, each focusing on its own area.

Of course, today’s flights need to last longer than a few seconds and hold up against altitudes far greater than a few hundred feet. They also carry both passengers and cargo. Indeed, the growth of aircraft manufacturing has more than met its challenges!

Know Your Market

Manufacturers suffered from the recent COVID-19 travel restrictions. As a result, commercial aircraft manufacturers saw a 60-70% drop in sales. Defense manufacturers coped better because of government contracts.

Although things are looking up, a recent study shows that air travel may not recover completely until 2025. As of January 2021, 81% of domestic passengers did not plan on flying in the coming months, while 89% of international passengers did not plan to. Commercial aircraft deliveries have also declined 41% from their 2018 high.

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Ultimately, less air travel leads to less wear and tear on the aircraft. In consequence, this state decreases the need for aircraft manufacturers.

Aircraft Manufacturing Industry Statistics

With its large database of US manufacturers and suppliers, MNI recently studied the aircraft manufacturing industry. It found 212 major companies nationwide, which employ 157,110 people. This figure is 0.21% less than last year.

Sixteen percent of major US aircraft manufacturers import their raw materials. They also sell 68% of their final product overseas.

The manufacturing sector as a whole only imports 11% of its raw materials. Likewise, it only sells 29% of its final product overseas.

Regionally, 35% of all major US aircraft manufacturing companies are in the West. The South holds another 32% of the companies. The Midwest claims 26% of the manufacturers, and the Northeast trails with only 7%.

Top CompaniesCityState Number of Employees
Boeing Commercial Airplane Co.EverettWA18,560
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.Fort WorthTX16,400
The Boeing Co.St. LouisMO16,000
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.SavannahGA9,638
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.PowayCA9,000
Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Co.StratfordCT7,500
Boeing Commercial AirplanesNorth CharlestonSC7,000
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.LittletonCO7,000
Textron Aviation, Inc.WichitaKS5,400
Boeing Defense, Space & SecurityRidley ParkPA5,200

About The Top 10 US Aircraft Manufacturing Sites

Boeing Commercial Airplane Co. in Everett, Washington has the largest manufacturing site in the world. Employing 18,560 individuals, it opened in 1967 to manufacture 747s. Since then it has grown to encompass 98.7 acres, and is the world’s largest building in terms of volume.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, Texas has a workforce of 16,400. Lockheed Martin never forgot its small-town roots. The company supports its smaller manufacturers with accelerated payments.

The Boeing Co. in St. Louis, Missouri employs 16,000 workers. The Boeing Co. is America’s largest manufacturing exporter, and the St. Louis site houses the Prologue Room. This museum showcases pioneers in aviation and their achievements.

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. is located in Savannah, Georgia. Its 9,638 employees build and service high-end privately-owned aircraft. The company’s close attention to customer service includes more factory-owned service centers than any other aircraft manufacturer.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. in Poway, California started as a part of General Dynamics in 1954. The 8+ million square-foot site houses 9,000 workers. They manufacture unmanned aircraft, power changing systems and remote viewing products.

Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Co. in Stratford, Connecticut has led the world in helicopter manufacturing since 1923. Igor Sikorsky's invention remains a base for both military and non-military missions to this day. Currently, the company's 7,500 workers keep up Mr. Sikorsky’s vision.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes in North Charleston, South Carolina employs a crew of 7,000 to create the safest commercial flights. The company’s Confident Travel Initiative eases travelers' minds with cleaning and disinfecting routines.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Littleton, Colorado and its 7,000 employees create the GPS systems that serve commercial and military clients. They also invented a shell that protects travelers in outer space.

Textron Aviation, Inc. in Wichita, Kansas manufactures Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker aircraft. With a workforce of 5,400 employees, Textron Aviation customizes its planes to meet customer needs.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania employs 5,200 individuals. The company focuses on safe space travel and improving digital satellites. Boeing also researches deep space thrust rates that humans can tolerate.

Further reading: 4 Trends in the Aircraft Parts Industry

Contacting U.S. Aircraft Companies

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