MOBILE, Ala., July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In a major strategic announcement today, Airbus said it will establish a manufacturing facility in the United States to assemble and deliver A320 Family aircraft. Located at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Alabama, it will be the company's first U.S.-based production facility. Airbus stressed that the assembly line, which will create jobs and strengthen the aerospace industry, is part of its strategy to enhance Airbus' global competitiveness by meeting the growing needs of its customers in the United States and elsewhere.
The facility in Alabama will assemble the industry-leading family of A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. The company said construction of the assembly line will begin in summer 2013. Aircraft assembly is planned to start in 2015, with first deliveries from the Mobile facility beginning in 2016. Airbus anticipates the facility will produce between 40 and 50 aircraft per year by 2018.
"The time is right for Airbus to expand in America," said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus President & CEO at the announcement today in Mobile. "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 this assembly line brings us closer to our customers. Mobile is now becoming part of Airbus' global production network, joining our successful and growing assembly lines in Hamburg, Toulouse and Tianjin."
"This decision is great news for our industry partnerships in the U.S., and it supports Airbus' strategy on several fronts," continued Bregier. "This facility creates new manufacturing jobs and further enhances the partnership between Airbus, its suppliers and their employees – a very large percentage of which are located here in the United States. We and the supplier partners with whom we work will be establishing a new aerospace center of competency in a region that has endured great difficulty in recent years.
"When Airbus aircraft take to the skies, our pride and workmanship will soar along with them," Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said. "We owe thanks to so many people who helped make this effort a success. This project will create 1,000 stable, well-paying jobs that the people of this area need and deserve. Alabama has the best workforce you'll find anywhere in the U.S. Airbus has recognized all that this state can offer expanding industries, and the company is making a significant new investment in Alabama. Airbus and its parent company, EADS, have been great citizens of Alabama for years now, and we are excited to build on our wonderful relationship."
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby said, "I would like to congratulate Airbus for choosing Mobile as the location for their first aircraft assembly operation in the United States. This new state-of-the-art facility builds upon the significant investments Airbus has already made in the United States, and it is only natural that they would seek to tap into Alabama's top-notch workforce in doing so. Mobile has long been a hub for world class shipbuilding and it will now become a critical node for the U.S. aerospace industry as well. The effects of this decision will reverberate far beyond Alabama, however, as the entire country will benefit from having both global commercial aircraft manufacturers building planes on U.S. soil."
"The announcement of a new Airbus manufacturing plant in Mobile is wonderful news for our community, for our state, and for America," commented U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions. "The plant, along with construction work and other related activities, will ultimately create several thousand jobs and inject millions of dollars into the local economy. This contract is a testament to the incredible skill and dedication of Alabama's workers and an affirmation that Alabama is one of the premiere sites in the world to do business. Manufacturing is vital to a healthy economy, and I share in the excitement that these fine aircraft will be built by our workers in our state."
"Today's announcement is a powerful and optimistic statement – both for Airbus and for the people of Mobile and the Gulf Coast," said U.S. Congressman Jo Bonner (1st District, Alabama). "As Airbus plants the flag deeper in American soil, they are showing tremendous confidence that their industry-leading aircraft can become an even bigger part of the U.S. market in the coming years. And the people of Alabama are excited and naturally honored, once again, to stand on the world stage with a transformational opportunity that represents not only hundreds of new jobs, but limitless possibilities for the future."
"This is a real game changer for Mobile County and the whole region," said County Commission President Connie Hudson. "Mobile joins very select company as one of just a few communities in the world capable of manufacturing high-tech, large commercial aircraft. We couldn't be more proud of this development, more thankful to Airbus for their partnership, or more excited for the future."
"It has been a long road and a lot of work, but we're elated to bring this project to reality in Mobile," said the city's Mayor, Sam Jones. "Mobile has a winning team – city, county, state, national and business leaders who have put a lot of energy and dedication into this project. Their efforts have resulted in a victory for our city – today and well into the future. Ours is a city of great, unlimited potential."
Airbus already has a strong and growing presence in Alabama and throughout the United States. In Alabama, the company operates an Engineering Center in Mobile – also located at Brookley Aeroplex and employing more than 200 engineers and support staff – as well as an Airbus Military customer services operation supporting U.S. Coast Guard aircraft. In addition, Airbus operates an Engineering Center in Wichita, Kansas; an aircraft Spares Center in Ashburn, Virginia; a Training Center in Miami, Florida, and a regulatory and government liaison office in Washington, D.C. Subsidiary Metron Aviation, a leading provider of advanced Air Traffic Management (ATM) products and services, is based in Dulles, Virginia. Airbus' headquarters for the Americas are located in Herndon, Virginia. All together, Airbus' U.S. facilities currently employ more than 1,000 people.
The company said that the new Mobile assembly line, together with associated functions, should create as many as 1,000 new high-skilled jobs.
Airbus' assembly line in Mobile will add to existing production capabilities by other EADS companies in the United States. For example, American Eurocopter manufactures helicopters at facilities in Columbus, Mississippi and Grand Prairie, Texas, while Cassidian Communications has an assembly plant in Temecula, California.
Airbus is the largest export customer for the U.S. aerospace industry. Since 1990, the company has spent $127 billion with U.S. suppliers – $12 billion last year alone.
Airbus partners with hundreds of US suppliers in more than 40 US states, and the company's expenditures in the U.S. support more than 210,000 American jobs.
Airbus is the leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive family of airliners on the market, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats. Over 11,500 Airbus aircraft have been sold to more than 470 customers and operators worldwide and more than 7,200 of these have been delivered since the company first entered the market in the early seventies. Airbus is an EADS company.
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Airbus Alabama Assembly Line Quotable Quotes
Suzie Ahlstrand, Interim President, Greater Wichita (KS) Economic Development Coalition: "Airbus continues to have an aggressive growth strategy and we congratulate them upon their new announcement. Wichita, the Air Capital of the World, benefits greatly also, as our world-class supply chain is ready and able to support their new facility. We look forward to this new growth potential."
Richard Anderson, CEO, Delta Air Lines: "Delta is one of the largest operators of Airbus aircraft in the U.S. and our A319, A320 and A330 fleets are popular with customers. After 2016, it will be great to see the A320 family of aircraft delivered from here in the U.S."
Ben Baldanza, CEO, Spirit Airlines: "Spirit congratulates Airbus on its decision to begin assembling its energy efficient and customer appealing aircraft in the United States. Spirit is growing and will take delivery of many new Airbus airplanes in the coming years, and we look forward to our first delivery from this new Mobile facility."
Dave Barger, President and CEO, JetBlue Airways: "On behalf of JetBlue's 14,000 crewmembers, I extend our congratulations to our business partner Airbus on today's exciting announcement. JetBlue is the largest A320 operator in the world, and as an airline focused on serving the Americas, it's wonderful to welcome production of this aircraft to our own shores. Airbus has always created jobs in America - first with helping to create 14,000 JetBlue crewmember positions, and now with this manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama."
Bryan Bedford, Chairman, Frontier Airlines: "I am thrilled that Airbus has taken this monumental decision to develop a state of the art, world class aircraft manufacturing facility in the United States. This is the perfect fit of a great airframe design combined with some of the most skilled workers on the planet. I can't wait to receive our first A320neo aircraft from the Mobile facility."
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio: "Ohio is the #1 supplier to Airbus. By locating a manufacturing center in the U.S., Airbus will be closer to Ohio suppliers. I'm eager to continue to partner with Airbus to expand opportunities and jobs for Ohio aerospace suppliers."
Jermaine Burrell, Mobile City Councilmember (District 3): "We have long known that Brookley Aeroplex would offer the amenities to help a wise company grow, and that it would provide an incubator for jobs throughout our community. This announcement by Airbus has taken that knowledge and turned it into a magnificent reality. This real, tangible accomplishment for our area is a validation of our efforts, and the realization that our hard work continues to pay off."
Representative James Buskey (D), Alabama House of Representatives, District 99, Mobile Delegation Co-Chair: "This project is bigger and better than the original tanker project. It will do more for our area economically than anything else I could imagine."
Greg Canfield, Secretary, Alabama Department of Commerce: "This announcement represents one thousand much needed new jobs for south Alabama. 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. We are excited about this prominent addition to our growing reputation as a center for aerospace technology and manufacturing. 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."
Debbie Carey, Mobile resident and mother of three: "This is probably the most significant economic impact to hit Mobile in my lifetime. As a mother I am hopeful that this will allow our children more job opportunities to remain close to home."
William Carroll, Mobile City Councilmember (District 2): "No longer do we have to say, 'didn't we almost have it all?' After all we are announcing today the culmination of years of hard work and cooperation among the City of Mobile, that State of Alabama, and companies like Airbus from around the globe. I am proud of the dedication that we have put into this, and I look forward to our citizens reaping the benefits of an increase job market. Our community deserves a victory like this."
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, Mississippi: "This expansion of the aerospace industry along the Gulf Coast is very positive news for manufacturing and the economy in the region. I welcome this announcement and the positive impact it will have in South Mississippi."
Reggie Copeland, Mobile City Council President (District 5): "As we begin to celebrate our Independence Day, this great announcement will be heard around the world! Thanks to those who worked so hard in securing this for our city and for Alabama."
David Cush, President and CEO, Virgin America: "As one of the few growing domestic airlines and the launch customer for the A320neo, we are pleased that Airbus is continuing to invest in the assembly of its next generation A320 family aircraft here in the U.S. The low operating costs, cabin comfort and carbon-efficient design of our all Airbus A320 Family fleet has helped fuel our success and growth to date – including the creation of 2,600 new airline jobs since our 2007 launch. It will be great to see these aircraft delivered here in America after 2016."
Mike Dean, Mobile County Commissioner (District 3): "We never gave up on EADS and Airbus. The company saw our commitment and how badly we wanted to develop our aerospace industry. Even after we lost tanker we went back to EADS and said you need to be assembling planes in Mobile."
Mark Dunkerley, President and CEO, Hawaiian Airlines: "promised from HAL"
Representative Victor Gaston (R), Alabama House of Representatives, District 100, Speaker Pro Tempore: "The core factor in this announcement is jobs for our community, our state and our region. Certainly our economy needs a boost and this announcement is a true achievement for our region."
Senator Rusty Glover (R), Alabama State Senate, District 34: "After the disappointment of losing the tanker project, this is welcome news that will greatly lift the spirits of the people of Mobile County and surrounding areas."
Gina Gregory, Mobile City Councilmember (District 7): "Today is a victory not just for Mobile but for the State of Alabama. Landing this contract to bring Airbus to Mobile reinforces our identity as an emerging aerospace hub. Our success in recruiting this major contract and others like it is due to the team effort Mobile and the State of Alabama are recognized for. Congratulations to everyone, this is huge."
Win Hallett, President, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce: "The Mobile community has worked diligently over the past ten years to convince companies in the aerospace sector that Mobile is the optimum American venue in which to manufacture airplanes profitably. Mobile has a skilled, dedicated and productive workforce, our quality of life is exceptional, and our people are our most important asset. They work hard, are friendly and they play well with others, both domestically and internationally. Besides these attributes, Mobile has some of the finest infrastructure found anywhere, including five class-one railroads, two airports, a deep water port and two intersecting Interstates."
Michael L. Heil, President & CEO, Ohio Aerospace Institute: "Under [Airbus America's Chairman] Allan McArtor's leadership, Airbus has shown a strong commitment to bring more Airbus business to Ohio, Airbus's largest supplier state. I envision that the establishment of an Airbus assembly facility in Alabama will lead to increased business for Ohio companies in the Airbus supply chain."
David Hess, President, Pratt and Whitney: "Today's announcement by Airbus is great news for the American aerospace industry and American workers. Pratt & Whitney looks forward to building on our longstanding partnership with Airbus and powering many of the aircraft being assembled in Mobile."
Dawne Hickton, President & CEO, RTI International Metals: "RTI is proud to be Airbus's North American titanium supplier for over 40 years, and our growing partnership is an important part of our future. We applaud the decision of Airbus to establish a U.S. manufacturing center in Mobile, AL – an economic zone with great potential. Becoming an industrial citizen of America is an important strategic step for Airbus and it supports RTI jobs in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Connecticut, Missouri and Texas."
Tom Horton, Chairman and CEO, American Airlines: "American applauds Airbus' decision to expand its production of world-class aircraft to America. Our landmark fleet deal last year for hundreds of aircraft puts American on track to have the most modern, fuel-efficient fleet among its peers. Airbus A320 family aircraft will be a big part of this transformation starting next year."
Clay Jones, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer: "In today's global aerospace environment, building and maintaining close relationships – which many times means local relationships – are extremely important for future growth. Airbus' new phase of growth in the U.S. will allow for greater collaboration and efficiency with top-tier suppliers like Rockwell Collins and provide valuable job opportunities for the U.S. aviation workforce."
Merceria Ludgood, Mobile County Commissioner (District 1): "This is a perfect fit with the companies, training centers, and aviation schools we already have at Brookley. We anticipate many suppliers will locate in the county. We hope to have a thriving aerospace industry for decades to come."
Jimmy Lyons, Director/Chief Executive Officer, Alabama State Port Authority: "This is a great day, and one we've all worked over seven years to achieve. We are extremely pleased by the jobs and business expansion possibilities Airbus will bring to our region. Not only will Mobile gain a company of the highest quality, but throughout this process, we've come to know well many individuals from both Airbus and EADS, all of whom will be fine neighbors and great corporate citizens. We look forward to working with Airbus in the many years to come."
U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller (1st District, Florida): "This is a tremendous announcement for our region. We are always trying to attract businesses to the area, but a world-class aerospace leader like Airbus establishing an assembly facility locally is truly a monumental achievement. Having Airbus as a corporate neighbor has the potential to be the catalyst for a sustained job growth trend along the entire Gulf Coast."
Anita Motykiewicz, All A Bloom Florist (Mobile, AL small business owner): "I love changes in Mobile and to see things growing. I think this is going to be a really great opportunity for us and it can absolutely impact small businesses. There will be more people moving here for jobs and the citizens already here will have new opportunities and more money to spend in local small businesses."
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (4th District, Mississippi): "This is great news for South Mississippi. We've done a lot to encourage economic development and growth along the Gulf Coast, and we have a world-class workforce ready to fill these jobs. As the region's aerospace corridor expands, I think you're going to see even more companies looking to follow in Airbus's footsteps."
Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO, US Airways: "We're excited that Airbus is building their newest, world-class assembly facility in the United States. This plant brings nearly 1,000 jobs for people who will build some of the most advanced and efficient aircraft available today," said Doug Parker, US Airways Chairman and CEO. "We value our long-standing relationship with Airbus and applaud their initiative to create jobs in the United States."
Mike Payne, Gwin's Printing (Mobile, AL small business owner): "This is fantastic news for Mobile and the Gulf Coast region. The potential impact on all businesses will be significant with a huge impact on small businesses like ours who are the lifeblood of any community. I have always been fascinated and excited by airplanes and the aerospace industry and now we are going to be one of the leading hubs in North America. Thanks to Airbus for having the confidence in Mobile to make such an important investment in our great community."
Bess Rich, Mobile City Council Member (District 6): "It is a pleasure to welcome EADS/ Airbus into the fabric of our community. All Mobilians embrace their vision to build the A320neo, and we will be committed to insuring the success and well-being of this endeavor for years to come. Congratulations to everyone who worked diligently to see that the newest generation when it comes to commercial airline travel will be produced in the great city of Mobile, Alabama."
Fred Richardson, Mobile City Council Member (District 1): "Seldom has any generation in their lifetime been faced with the prospect of a single event so profound that it will change the course of history. This profound prospect has now materialized in Mobile, AL, in that EADS has again selected our city to build not fuel tankers, but the next generation of the state-of-the-art commercial air planes. Surely this single history-making event will change the economic dynamics of our city and region for the rest of this century. Mobile is taking its proper place among only two other great cities in the world, with the coming of Airbus. We may very well be the only city to build ships and airplanes."
Johnnie Robinson, President, Industrial Development Board for the City of Mobile: "The Industrial Development Board (IDB) is pleased to partner with all of the entities involved to bring this major project to Mobile. Airbus will create additional higher paying jobs that will help increase the quality of life for the citizens of Mobile and the area. This type of project aligns itself perfectly with the mission of the IDB."
Jeff Rolf, Vice President of Commercial Programs, Parker Aerospace: "The demand for commercial aircraft is growing worldwide, and major airframers need to expand their manufacturing and assembly capabilities to keep up. We are delighted that Airbus has decided to locate this new plant here in the U.S., creating jobs and helping to keep the American aerospace industry strong and economically sound."
Bill Sisson, Executive Director, Mobile Airport Authority: "Today's announcement is tremendous news for this region. The old saying that good things come to those who wait has new meaning to our community. We are thrilled that Airbus has decided to expand its footprint at Brookley, and we welcome that growth with open arms."
Troy L. Wayman, CeD, Vice President of Economic Development, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce: "This project is transformative for the entire Mobile area. To have the world's largest airplane manufacturer select Mobile for its flagship final assembly line in North America speaks volumes about the Mobile team and the confidence Airbus has in our workforce and our ability to deliver. We have always been the geographical center of the Gulf Coast Aerospace corridor, now we can boast that we are the manufacturing center as well."
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, Mississippi: "Airbus's decision is great news for Alabama and Mississippi, leading to significant economic opportunities. Mississippi and the Gulf Coast have a strong workforce able to support highly-skilled manufacturing operations, and Airbus's facility, like American Eurocopter in Columbus, will create new jobs throughout our region. This investment will drive growth for the many suppliers and support services that are necessary to produce state of the art aircraft."
John Williams, Mobile City Councilmember (District 4) "What great news for the people of Mobile. No doubt, our workforce will provide the world the quality product it needs to meet the global demands of the future."