New Website Touts North Carolina's Aerospace Corridor


The Southeastern Partnership Joins Craven, Lenoir and Wayne Counties in Global Marketing Initiative

Elizabethtown, N.C. – March 27, 2018. Economic development leaders from Craven, Lenoir and Wayne counties are collaborating with The Southeastern Partnership in showcasing a critical mass of aerospace and aviation assets that could form the basis of new job creation and business attraction. Branded “North Carolina’s Aerospace Corridor,” the initiative now has a new web-site detailing the region’s appeal to firms in aerospace, aviation and defense contracting.

The online presence can be found at

The new site showcases education, workforce, transportation and other assets capable of supporting suppliers to defense and civilian aviation and aerospace buyers. “Given the global nature of the aviation and aerospace industries, it makes sense for our counties to join forces and market cooperatively,” says Timothy Downs, director of Craven County Economic Development. “Together we have the geography, hard assets, labor and leadership to stand out in this highly competitive and fast-changing industry.”

The three counties come together at a point midway along the East Coast, with connections via highway, rail, port and air. Complementing its convenient proximity to I-95, I-40 and the Port of Morehead City, the three counties are lined by I-795 and U.S. Highways 17 and 70. “North Carolina’s Aerospace Corridor is home to two major military bases in Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point,” explains Crystal Gettys, president of the Wayne County Development Alliance. “They put businesses here within easy reach not only of Defense Department buyers, but also a steady supply of exiting military personnel seeking private-sector career opportunities.”

Civilian aviation facilities also provide global connectivity. Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern offers daily commercial passenger service through American Airlines and Delta Airlines. In Kinston, North Carolina’s Global TransPark is home to the state’s longest civilian runway, an on-site training center and an extensive Foreign Trade Zone. “The Global TransPark is now emerging as a worldwide aviation and aerospace asset,” says Mark Pope, executive director at Lenoir County Economic Development. Since 2008, the 2,500-acre multi-modal industrial park has been home to Kansas-based Spirit AeroSystems, which supplies composite-based wing and fuselage components to France’s Airbus Group. In late 2017, Spirit embarked on a $55.7 million expansion there over the coming five years. “Spirit AeroSystems continues to be a game-changer for the TransPark and the region.”

The North Carolina Aerospace Corridor is coming together at an ideal time as defense budgets in the U.S. and Europe are on the rise, the Pentagon reforms its acquisition systems and the British exit from the European Union prompts global aviation industry players to re-think supply chains. “Policy shifts in Washington, DC, and in European capitals are shuffling the deck for the big names in the industry, and we think that works to our advantage,” says Joe Melvin, director of business development at The Southeastern Partnership. “At the end of the day, the right mix of hard assets, talent, accessibility and affordability will capture the attention of growth-minded companies, and that’s the sweet spot for North Carolina’s Aerospace Corridor.”

A public-private partnership headquartered in Elizabethtown, N.C., The Southeastern Partnership links business leaders with educators, healthcare providers, community organizations and county governments in seeking to “provide strong economic development leadership in southeastern North Carolina through innovative marketing and collaborative regional initiatives that will support the creation of new jobs, generate capital investment and secure new business locations.” Member counties include Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Hoke, Lenoir, Montgomery, New Hanover, Moore, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland and Wayne.

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 Contact:         Steve Yost
                       910-862-8511 ext. 220
                       910-991-5689 (cell)

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