Are closed door talks about Boeing?

Dec. 17, 2013 @ 04:34 PM

The governing board of Piedmont Triad International Airport got through its meeting Tuesday afternoon without anyone publicly mentioning the word “Boeing.”

Whether the name of the jet manufacturer came up later in a closed session of the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority remains to be seen, but may make a good bet.
Economic development and elected officials in Greensboro, with an assist from High Point, are pursuing what they will only say publicly is a major economic development project. But some elected officials in Greensboro have said that PTIA is among nearly two dozen suitors across the nation trying to lure Boeing’s next jetliner plant and the thousands of jobs that would come with it. Boeing indicates it has received proposals from 22 states for the factory. The interested parties include Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
When asked Tuesday afternoon by The High Point Enterprise if the closed session would be about a recent, major economic development project, Airport Authority Chairman Henry Isaacson replied, “That’s a good guess.”
The Airport Authority went into closed session under an exception to the N.C. Open Meetings Law “to discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the area served by the authority, including agreement on a tentative list of economic development incentives that may be offered by the authority in negotiations.” The airport’s governing board took no action following the closed session.
Isaacson told the Enterprise last week that the opportunity to bid for a major economic development project came up suddenly.
“We are not talking about Boeing itself. We are talking about a major economic development project for which we have responded to a request for proposals. We have not mentioned any names,” Isaacson said last week.
Also last week, Isaacson and PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker, along with lead Greensboro economic development recruiter Dan Lynch, attended a meeting of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. The commissioners last Thursday night held a closed session about an industry expansion, though no details were publicly released.
Whether Boeing will manufacture its 777 jetliner at the company’s traditional base around Seattle or in another part of the country may hinge on negotiations with the machinists union in Washington state.
Unionized Boeing workers are debating this week whether to hold a vote on a contract that could entice the company to keep the production in Washington state. Machinists rejected an initial contract offer last month. But there’s intense pressure on union leaders in Washington state to allow a vote on a revised contract offer.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528