Oklahoma is urging aerospace companies to move to the Sooner State as it bids for a larger slice of the market.

The state is home to aerospace pioneers such as Wiley Post and Clyde Cessna, with a legacy of innovation dating back more than a century.

But Oklahoma continues to punch above its weight today, with more than 1,000 aerospace companies and some of the largest maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities anywhere in the world.

Oklahoma has also been ranked number one in preparedness for the drone industry by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

The state boasts five military installations, two air national guard operations and numerous aerospace assets, including the Oklahoma Air & Space Port, which is hoping to become a key site for launches in the near future.

Large and fast-growing industries

“We have over 1,100 aerospace companies in the state of Oklahoma, it’s our second largest, and our fastest growing, industry in the state,” said Leshia Pearson, deputy director of aerospace and defence at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

Encouraging more businesses to move to the state, she added: “It’s got over $44 billion economic impact, and those are just 2017 figures. We have the two largest MRO facilities in the world, Tinker Air Force Base, is the largest military DoD MRO facility in the world, and then American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma is the largest MRO depot in the world for the commercial side.”

From a space perspective, Oklahoma Air + Space Port is one of only 12 licensed US space ports and the only one in unrestricted airspace.

The “Infinity One” space flight corridor is 152 miles long and 45 miles wide, and the facility contains 50,000 square feet of manufacturing space, six commercial aircraft hangars for lease and a 13,503 x 300 ft primary runway.

In addition, many large aerospace companies have established a base in Oklahome, including GE, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Rolls Royce.

‘Business-friendly state’

Commenting on why businesses were choosing Oklahoma to set up shop, Pearson said: “State support is very strong … but I think in addition to that, and more importantly, it’s our cost of doing business, our business friendly environment.

“Our governor, and our legislature, is very pro business, they’re trying to decrease legislation as far as business taxes. We’ve even lowered our corporate tax rate in the last couple of years.

“Also there is the quality of labour; hard working Oklahomans, many of us were raised in agriculture and rural areas, so they have that hard working mindset.

“And now we have all these great universities and partnerships and and are investing heavily in our educational system and creating programmes, bringing in new engineers.”
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