Covington County is Advantageous for Industry
Aviation and Aerospace
Alabama’s presence in the aerospace and aviation industry is broad and vast, with activities in virtually every segment of the sector. Aerospace manufacturing accounts for around 13,200 jobs in the state. Alabama ranks 5th in the U.S. for employment of aerospace engineers, with a count topping 3,600 in the profession. Huntsville has been an aerospace hub for decades, housing the highest number of engineers per capita in the United States.
Alabama was put on the international map for aerospace and aviation when Airbus chose the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley as the site to build its first aircraft assembly plant in the United States in 2012. Over 300 aerospace companies from more than 30 different countries have chosen Alabama, including industry giants such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation, Raytheon, Collins Aerospace, and GKN Aerospace. In addition to private companies, Alabama also has a strong military aerospace/aviation presence.
- 100+ years of aerospace and aviation history
- 61,000+ employed in aerospace and defense
- 3,610 aerospace engineers (Top 5 in US)
- Home to businesses from 30 countries
- 2nd largest research and technology park in the U.S. (Cummings Research Park)
- More than 300 aerospace companies
- Aerospace manufacturing employed 12,600 as of December 2021
- Over $1.4 billion in aerospace equipment and parts exported in 2021
- $10.9 billion in Department of Defense contracts in Fiscal 2017
The Covington County Business Development Center at South Alabama Regional Airport serves as a campus for the Enterprise State Community College’s Alabama Aviation College. The South Alabama Regional Airport serves as a major refueling facility for military aircraft throughout the region.
Adjacent to Covington County is Fort Rucker, the home of Army Aviation where all helicopter pilots train. South Alabama Regional Airport is a hot refueling facility for the helicopters. The airport is supported through a DOD contract that provides 1 million gallons of fuel per year to the military.
The Alabama Aviation Training Facility at the South Alabama Regional Airport offers dual enrollment in aviation maintenance to high school students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. Two-year post-secondary programs are available in aircraft maintenance and avionics technology where students gain skills that transfer directly to the automotive, machinery, and machine industries.
The facility consists of approximately 9,500 square feet of well-lit and ventilated instructional and administrative space, including a faculty administrative office, secure records storage space, two large classrooms, a welding lab, composites lab, sheet metal lab, and a woodworking lab.
South Alabama Regional Airport’s capabilities include:
- 6,000 ft. runway and taxiway.
- Taxiway: 35 feet wide and stressed to accommodate 60,000 lbs. dual wheel.
- 20,000-gallon Jet A fuel farm and 10,000-gallon 100LL fuel farm.
- A 3,000-gallon Jet A tanker.
- 10OLL Self-Service fueling system.
- Fully equipped ARFF Fire Department. Fire Department has all required equipment to meet DCMA standards for large aircraft operations.
- ASOS (Automated Surface Observing System).
- 165-acre industrial park with infrastructure in place.
- Hangars with room for more.
- Alabama Aviation College satellite campus onsite for the training of A&P mechanics.
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