Airbus signaled Monday it would build its first
US commercial airline factory in the non-union Southern state of
Alabama, in a move to grab a larger share of the huge US commercial
airline market from competitor Boeing.
"While other companies in the American aerospace business are laying off, we hired 4,000 people last year, and we'll do the same again this year - we go where the talent is," Airbus president and chief executive Fabrice Bregier said.
The 600-million-dollar factory will begin producing A319, A320 and A321 single-aisle commercial planes by 2016, and plans to produce 40 to 50 planes a year and employ 1,000 people when fully operational.
The relationship between France-based Airbus and Mobile, Alabama, began seven years ago, when Airbus agreed to build a factory in the city if it was awarded a US military contract. The contract for Air Force refueling tankers instead went to Airbus' main competitor, US-based Boeing.
"The mayor and other people around here kept the dialogue up with Airbus, and here we are today," Mobile city spokesman Adam Buck said.
Alabama is a right-to-work state, meaning labour unions cannot force workers to join or pay union dues.
Airbus said in a press release Monday that the new factory would provide better value to its US buyers and "enhance" the company's global competitiveness.
"The time is right for Airbus to expand in America," Bregier said. "The US 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."
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