Aerospace is one of the fastest growing sectors of the West Virginia economy. Higher profitability, lower labor costs and utility savings contribute to the successful operations within the state. West Virginia provides strategic access to the top domestic purchasing sectors of aerospace products and to national defense contractors, corporations, the federal government and other industrial customers and suppliers. A West Virginia-based company will find a plentiful supply of primary and fabricated metal products, essential raw materials for the aerospace industry. The availability of supplies and raw materials is a primary consideration in locating aerospace products manufacturers. Raw materials account for over 50 percent of total production costs. West Virginia's industrial electric and natural gas rates are among the lowest in the nation due to abundant natural gas and oil reserves—good news for aerospace industry investors, since electricity costs make up the largest percentage of total utility bills.
Industry leaders such as Alliant Techsystems, Aurora Flight Services, Bombardier, Goodrich, Lockheed Martin, and Pratt & Whitney have manufacturing, repair, and service operations in West Virginia. These companies capitalize upon a large supply of experienced industry workers and education programs tailored to their needs to secure skilled employees. The Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center, a component of the Fairmont State University School of Technology, offers associate and bachelor degree programs in aviation technology. The Center offers cutting-edge aerospace industry training. Specialized courses have been developed in areas such as avionics and aircraft electronics troubleshooting and repair, aircraft sheet metal repair, advanced composite structure manufacture and repair, blueprint reading and interpretation, aviation safety, aerospace company orientation, and aviation. The Robert C. Byrd Institute for Flexible Manufacturing, with locations in Bridgeport, Charleston, Huntington, and Rocket Center, features specialized technologies, unique structures for education and training, manufacturing networking opportunities and quality documentation and certification, all tailored to serve industry, regardless of a company's West Virginia location.
Noteworthy is West Virginia's Aircraft Valuation Business Tax. Aircraft owned or leased by commercial airlines, charter carriers, private carriers, and private companies are valued for property tax purposes at the lower of fair market salvage value or five percent of the original cost of the property.