MOBILE – Governor Robert Bentley on Monday joined with Airbus executives, economic development leaders, and other officials in formally announcing that Airbus has chosen Alabama as the site of its first U.S.-based production facility.
The facility at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile will be used to assemble the industry-leading family of A319, A320, and A321 aircraft. The entire project represents a $600 million total investment and is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs within the production facility when it reaches full capacity. In addition, the construction phase of the project is expected to create nearly 3,200 construction-related jobs over a three-year period.
“When Airbus aircraft take to the skies, Alabama’s pride and workmanship will soar along with them,” Governor Bentley said. “We have worked a long time and have put in many hours to make this announcement a reality. This project will create thousands of well-paying jobs that the people of this area need and deserve. Alabama has the best workforce you’ll find anywhere in the country. Airbus has recognized all that this state can offer expanding industries, and the company is making a significant new investment in Alabama.”
The Airbus project is a strong example of the economic development projects targeted by Accelerate Alabama – a long-term strategic plan for attracting a broad range of industries and new jobs. Accelerate Alabama was created by the Alabama Economic Development Alliance, which was established by Governor Bentley last year.
Aerospace is one of 11 specific business sectors that Alabama is pursuing for additional development as part of the Accelerate Alabama plan. “Winning the Airbus project will, indeed, accelerate Alabama,” Governor Bentley said. “This type of project is exactly why I created the Alabama Economic Development Alliance. This is why we have the Accelerate Alabama strategic plan. With the Airbus project, we are seeing positive results that will lead to new jobs while strengthening the state’s economy and advancing our position in the global marketplace.”
The Alabama Department of Commerce is the lead agency administering the Accelerate Alabama plan. The agency is led by Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, who was appointed by Governor Bentley.
“The Airbus decision to create a final assembly line facility is a further sign that Alabama has developed a strong international reputation as a state that fosters success and profitability for companies that choose to invest here,” Secretary Canfield said. “We are excited about this prominent addition to our growing reputation as a center for aerospace technology and manufacturing,” Canfield added. “This announcement is further evidence that our five-year strategic economic development plan, Accelerate Alabama, is the correct path for future capital investment and job growth in our state.”
Construction of the new Airbus facility is expected to generate $162 million of additional demand for goods and services in Alabama. As the facility comes online, its earnings will be a major benefit to the local and state economies. “This decision to assemble our popular A320 Family aircraft in the U.S. is great news for our industry partnerships in the U.S. and supports Airbus’ strategy on several fronts,” Airbus President & CEO Fabrice Bregier said. “The U.S. is the largest single-aisle aircraft market in the world – with a projected need for 4,600 aircraft over the next 20 years, and Airbus will be helping to meet that need with aircraft manufactured here. Furthermore, this facility creates new manufacturing jobs and further enhances the partnership between Airbus and its supplier-partners and their employees – a very large percentage of which are located here in the United States. Lastly, it facilitates long-term growth throughout the company in a manner consistent with our goal of expanding our global industrial base.”
“The time is right for Airbus to expand in America,” Bregier added. “Mobile is now becoming part of Airbus’ global production network, joining our successful and growing assembly lines in Hamburg, Toulouse and Tianjin.” Construction of the new facility is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013. Aircraft assembly is projected to begin in 2015. By the year 2017, the facility is expected to produce between 40 and 50 aircraft per year. “I want to thank everyone involved – from Airbus to our Alabama Department of Commerce to leaders of the City of Mobile and Mobile County. They, along with local economic developers and federal partners, helped bring this project home,” Governor Bentley said. “We all worked together for a common goal, and success is the result. Airbus and its parent company, EADS, have been great citizens of Alabama for years, and we are excited to build on our wonderful relationship.”
Airbus currently operates an Engineering Center in Mobile, which is also located at Brookley Aeroplex and employs more than 200 engineers and support staff. The company also operates an Airbus Military Customer Services Operation, which supports U.S. Coast Guard aircraft. Additional manufacturing sectors that are targeted for growth as part of Accelerate Alabama include the automotive, agricultural products, steel/metal, forestry products, and chemicals industries. Information technology, biosciences, enabling technologies (robotics, etc.), distribution/logistics, and corporate operations are also major components of the long-range industry diversification plan.
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