Business

June 29, 2012

Airbus plans factory in Alabama

by Joshua Freed
Associated Press

European plane maker Airbus intends to build its first U.S. plant in Mobile, Alabama, a person with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press.

Airbus will assemble its A320 jet there, according to the person, who requested anonymity because a public announcement has not been made. The A320 is a widely used plane flown by U.S. airlines including Delta and US Airways.

An Alabama plant would enable Airbus to produce planes squarely in the territory of archrival Boeing. It would likely mean lower production costs compared with Airbus’ European A320 production lines in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany. The company also makes A320s in China.

The plan was reported June 27 by The New York Times, citing anonymous sources who said that an announcement could come as soon as July 2.

Airbus has said it wants to expand, and that it favors a site in the Southern United States.

“We have made no secret of our hopes to expand our global footprint, including in the U.S., as we have a very strong market here,” said Airbus spokeswoman Mary Anne Greczyn, who added that no decision has been made by the company’s board.

An Alabama state legislator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he’s been asked by state officials to be in Mobile July 2 for an industrial announcement involving an airline project.

Airbus is aiming to boost A320 production. The 150-seat plane is generally used on short- and medium-haul flights, and Airbus makes more of them than any of its other planes. They retail for $88 million, although discounts are common for big customers.

Similarly, Boeing is ramping up production of its 737, which competes directly with the A320. Both companies are putting new, more fuel-efficient engines on the planes, hoping to extend their appeal as airlines try to cut their fuel bills. Airbus made its new-engine decision earlier than Boeing and got a big jump on orders.

The U.S. is a growing market for Airbus. American Airlines ordered 260 A320s last year, and US Airways is buying them as well. However, Delta Air Lines went with Boeing 737s in a 100-jet order in August.

Airbus already has a facility in Mobile that employs about 230 people designing and installing interior items such as seats and cabin equipment for its big planes, the A330, the superjumbo A380, and its planned A350.

It has had its eye on possible U.S. expansion for several years. Mobile is where Airbus parent EADS planned to put its assembly line for an aerial refueling plane it wanted to build for the U.S. Air Force, before losing that long-running duel to Boeing in Feb. 2011. The tanker would have been based on the A330, a larger plane than the A320 slated to be built there now.

In March 2011, then-EADS CEO Louis Gallois said that if or when EADS made a move into the U.S., the South would be its favored destination. At the time he said possible locations were Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.

The plan by Airbus executives to open a plant in Alabama comes a few weeks after Fabrice Bregier took over as Airbus CEO on June 1. The CEO of EADS is now Tom Enders, who previously ran Airbus.

Mobile is already home to several aerospace companies, including ST Aerospace Mobile, Goodrich Aerospace and Star Aviation, and much of the business is based at the 1,650-acre Brookley Aeroplex.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Northrop Grumman supports U.S. Air Force Minuteman missile test launch

Northrop Grumman recently supported the successful flight testing of the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system. The operational flight test was conducted as part of the Air Force Global Strike Command’s Force Development Evaluation Program. This program demonstrates and supports assessment of the accuracy, availability and reliability of the...
 
 
boeing-737

Boeing delivers first direct purchase 737-700 to Ruili Airlines

Boeing and Ruili Airlines Nov. 25 celebrated the arrival of the airline’s first direct purchase Next-Generation 737-700. Ruili is a newly established private airline based at Changshui International Airport in Kunming, th...
 
 
boeing-india

Boeing delivers sixth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to India

Boeing delivered the sixth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to India, on schedule, Nov. 24, arriving at Naval Air Station Rajali to join five others being used by the Indian Navy. The P-8I is part of a contract of eight awarded in...
 

 
boeing-SC-787

Boeing South Carolina begins final assembly of its first 787-9 Dreamliner

Boeing has started final assembly of the 787-9 Dreamliner at its South Carolina facility. The team began joining large fuselage sections of the newest 787 Nov. 22 on schedule, a proud milestone for the South Carolina team and a...
 
 
NG-people2

Northrop Grumman names communications directors for Unmanned Systems, Military Aircraft Systems

Faith Jennings Northrop Grumman has announced that industry veteran Faith Jennings, and retired Rear Adm. Vic Beck will lead Communications for its Aerospace Systems sector’s unmanned systems and military aircraft divisio...
 
 

Northrop Grumman, Air Force complete integrated baseline review

Northrop Grumman has successfully conducted the integrated baseline review of the production, deployment and initial sustainment phase for the Enhanced Polar System Control and Planning Segment. The U.S. Air Force’s EPS provides space-enabled, secure communications capabilities to polar users in support of national objectives. EPS CAPS receives telemetry and supplies configuration command...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>