Covington Co. Leaders Return From Paris Air Show

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About 9,000 people live in the city of Andalusia. In fact, it was one of the smallest towns in Alabama represented at the famous Paris Air show.

Upon returning earlier this week, we spoke with the Mayor of Andalusia and the Covington County Economic Development Commission. They tell Alabama News Network how they told the world that small-town Andalusia is the future of an aviation hub.

It's the largest air trade event in the world attracting thousands of aerospace companies and city leaders in hope of networking to bring some big aerospace business to their towns. About 90 representatives from Alabama attended -- 5 of them from Covington County, including Andalusia Mayor, Earl Johnson.

"Your best bang for your buck is to go to this airshow every year because that's where they are. And that's where you can make appointments and you'll see them and sit down with them, introduce yourself to them tell them about your community," Said Johnson.

Johnson says he met with several aerospace prospects, but he couldn't reveal which businesses.

While networking, he also promoted the county's aviation industries -- DRS Technologies and Vector Aerospace.

"We also make it a point to talk to the people who are here already and we met with vector aerospace, met with their higher-ups and found out that we my have some more exciting news for Vector," Said CEO of the Covington County Commission, Rick Clifton.

Clifton would not release what that news could be, but he says the air show has already proved to bring business to Covington County.

County leaders met DRS Technologies for the first time 2 years ago. Then last year, the company set up shop in Andalusia and brought along with it hundreds of high-paying aerospace jobs to maintain and repair military aircrafts.

Clifton says Andalusia is already centrally located from other aviation hubs and hopes an Airbus supplier is next in line for the city.

"We try to go and contact these suppliers to let them know we are available to tell them where we are. Again, it's getting that information out in front of them. We developed a brochure just to take to the paris air show," Said Clifton.

But it was a pretty hefty price tag for the trip, according to al.com. The Alabama Department of Commerce says expenses for the Paris Air Show are expected to fall between $88,000 and $97,000.

A more precise account of those numbers will be out in about a month, once all of the expenses have been collected.



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