Airbus began construction on its first U.S. final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, with state and company officials estimating the plant will create 1,000 new jobs at the Mobile Brookley Aeroplex.
The new Airbus Alabama assembly line will produce A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. Major construction of the facility will begin this summer with aircraft assembly planned to begin in 2015 and first delivery of a Mobile-assembled passenger jet in 2016.
“In about two years we will start assembling aircraft here in Alabama, and there are only four places in the world where we are doing that,” Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier said. “This represents the transformation of Airbus into a truly global company. When this assembly line opens, we will be the only one to assemble aircraft in Asia, the Americas and Europe.”
In the wake of Airbus’ decision to assemble passenger jets at Mobile Brookley Aeroplex, Mobile is going to become an epicenter of activity in the aerospace industry, said Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus Americas. Airbus will invest $600 million in the facility, which will employ as many as 1,000 workers. Another 4,000 or so indirect jobs are expected to be created by the Airbus production center. “I look at it as a renaissance of the Gulf Coast region and specifically Mobile, Alabama, when it comes to commercial activity in the aerospace sector,” McArtor said.
“We all know that Airbus will bring 1,000 direct jobs to this site. That alone is good news for our great state,” said Gov. Robert Bentley. “Jobs are not just about building a plane or boosting our economy. When we talk about job creation we’re talking about making a difference in the lives of real people.”
In addition, Bentley said state economic development officials are working hard to persuade Airbus suppliers to establish operations in Airbus’ Alabama backyard. Last week, he signed legislation that is aimed to make it easier for Alabama recruiters to land suppliers as competition for the projects heats up with other states in the Gulf Coast region.
The first Airbus supplier at Aeroplex, French-based Safran Engineering Services, an aerospace company that partners with Airbus and others, is expected to employ 50 highly skilled workers.