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Scott to pitch Florida at British air show

Trip is intented to 'encourage more companies to do business with Florida'

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott is heading back to England to attend an air show with Florida's streamlined business-recruitment agency.

Scott is topping an Enterprise Florida contingent of at least 44 people to the biennial Farnborough International Airshow, which combines a private exhibition for the aerospace and defense industries with a public air show.

Scott, who led a similar mission to the air show in 2012, was scheduled to leave Florida on Friday and return Wednesday, according to his office.

Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz simply said the trip is "to encourage more companies to do business with Florida."

After the 2012 air-show trip, the governor's office said Florida participants that year made $41 million in actual and expected export sales.

Farnborough organizers said on their website that a 2014 show resulted in $201 billion in orders and commitments.

Among those joining Scott on the mission this year are Florida Power & Light CEO Eric Silagy, Gulf Power CEO Stan Connally, Space Florida Vice President of Business Development Bernie McShea, Florida Realtors President Maria Wells-Sturm and Melbourne Airport Authority Chairman Jack Ryals, according to a participant list from Enterprise Florida.

The air show runs from Monday through July 17.

Florida will have a pavilion in one of the air show's exhibition halls that will feature 10 small-business and economic-development organizations. Also, more than 20 meetings have been set up between Florida delegation members and aviation and aerospace companies, said Mike Grissom, Enterprise Florida senior vice president of external affairs.

Scott's participation in the trip was mentioned at an Enterprise Florida meeting in April, as talks were underway to eventually trim the economic-development agency's expenses by $6 million a year and to slash its workforce from 90 to 64.

Scott called for the reductions after state lawmakers this year refused to set aside $250 million for business recruitment efforts.

When the trip was first mentioned, it was also reported that Scott would attend Medica 2016, an international medical trade fair slated for November in Dusseldorf, Germany. Schutz said no other trips are currently planned.