Jul 02, 2012
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus
announced plans Monday to build a new facility in Alabama
to produce commercial airliners.
Adam Buck, a spokesman for the mayor of Mobile's office in Alabama, said the $600 million facility will begin construction next year and will generate 1,000 permanent new jobs. It will be located on the site of a former Air Force base, where Airbus already has an engineering facility, Buck said.
The facility, Airbus' first manufacturing plant in the western hemisphere, will construct the company's A320 line of single-aisle aircraft, according to a statement distributed by the Alabama governor's office.
"The time is right for Airbus to expand in America," Airbus President & CEO Fabrice Bregier said in the statement. "Mobile is now becoming part of Airbus' global production network, joining our successful and growing assembly lines in Hamburg, Toulouse and Tianjin."
Manufacturing is my future
Construction will begin next year, with aircraft assembly projected to begin in 2015. By 2017, the plant is expected to churn out between 40 and 50 planes per year, the statement said.
Monday's announcement represents a new challenge to industry rival Boeing in the market for U.S. commercial jets. Some analysts believe the facility will also allow Airbus' parent company, EADS, to compete with Boeing for U.S. defense contracts.
EADS had bid in 2010 for a contract to construct Air Force refueling tankers, planning to produce them in Mobile, but the contract ultimately went to Boeing.
Alabama's manufacturing sector has enjoyed surging growth over the past five years thanks to the state's low taxes, high-quality trade schools and union-weakening legislation. In addition to Airbus, firms including Boeing, Hyundai, Honda (HMC) and truck manufacturer Navistar are expanding in the state.