ABBOTSFORD (NEWS1130) – Abbotsford International Airport has pulled off what’s considered a coup in the aerospace industry.

It has managed to attract the attention of such international companies as MacDonald Dettwiler and Airbus, as it strives to become Western Canada’s aerospace hub.

The two aerospace giants joined 160 delegates at an Expo in Abbotsford on Thursday.

Instead of relying on more business from WestJet and Air Canada, Abbotsford airport’s business development manager says the future is in concentrating on the research and development side of the aerospace industry.

“We’d love to be a hub that would include engineering program work, developing unmanned aerial systems, modeling, simulation systems. There are a lot of different fields that are cutting edge,” says Jean-Paul Laube.

He believes the airport is well-placed to capitalize on that side of the industry.

“The fact that we have a full-service, high-tech airfield is a good start. We’ve got a strong base of aerospace companies at the airport. We’ve got some training institutions and we’ve got the University of the Fraser Valley on site at the airport.”

Some 87,000 Canadian jobs are related to the aerospace industry.