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.


 
 

 

Headlines October 1, 2014

Veterans: Substantial VA staff will face discipline - A substantial number of VA employees will face punishment for the veterans treatment scandal, the new national commander of the American Legion predicted Sept. 30, indicating that the slow pace of discipline has more to do with the hoops the department must jump through than it does a...
 
 

News Briefs October 1, 2014

Egypt president gives army control of arms imports The Egyptian president has amended a law, giving the country’s army control over weapons and ammunition imports. The Sept. 30 statement from the presidency says Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi changed articles stipulating that a permit for weapons’ imports has to be granted by the Interior Ministry, which is in...
 
 
atk-test

ATK successfully tests Orion launch abort motor igniter

NASA and ATK successfully completed a static test of the launch abort motor igniter for the Orion crew capsule’s Launch Abort System. Conducted at ATK’s facility in Promontory, Utah, this test is the next step towa...
 

 
uav-coalition

Small UAV coalition launched to advance commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles

Leading technology companies Oct. 1 formally announced the formation of the Small UAV Coalition to help pave the way for commercial, philanthropic, and civil use of small unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States and abroad...
 
 
Navy photograph

NAWCWD manned for unmanned systems

Navy photograph A rail launch is performed during Integrator unmanned aerial vehicle testing at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake, Calif. Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division scientists, engineers, techn...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

NASA employees go ‘above and beyond’

Courtesy photograph NASA Chief Scientist Albion Bowers, Christopher Miller and Nelson Brown receive the Exception Engineering Achievement Medal at Armstrong Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The prestigious award ...
 




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>