Airbus plant in Mobile, Alabama set to open next year

Global Business

The city of Mobile, Alabama is building a new future with some help from foreign companies, including European aircraft manufacturer Airbus which will open its first production facility in North America here. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported this story from Washington, D.C.

Allan McArtor, chairman and CEO of Airbus, said demand for single-aisle aircraft is vastly outpacing supply.

“We’ve already had seven to eight years of orders for a single-aisle aircraft from around the world,” McArtor said, “But the U.S. is the largest market for this kind of airplane. There’s about 4,600 airplanes of this class that will be required in the next 20 years.”

Airbus made a concerted effort to build a plant in the United States after it lost a contract to build U.S. Air Force refueling tankers to domestic aircraft producer Boeing in 2008.

The company’s facility in Mobile is expected to create 1,000 new jobs and will be up and running next year, with its first aircraft delivery targeted for 2016.

Airbus will assemble three different types of aircraft in the United States, but most of the components would still come from Europe. The company needed a deep water port to transport these components in the U.S., and Mobile was a good choice.

Alabama also provided more than $150 million in incentives including building a new training center, which was tailored to teach precise skills for assembling Airbus aircraft. Each employee will be trained for six months in the company’s European production plants.

“It gives us a longer future in our opinion, but it also doesn’t encumber us from one day. It’s conceivable, one day, we may do tanker conversions,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.

Airbus’s McArtor has made no secret that he’d love to recapture American military business.