France-Based Aerospace Firm Scores Win In Fight Against Boeing For Commercial Airliner Market
Toulouse, France-based aerospace giant Airbus will build its first airplane factory in the U.S., a $600 million plant expected to employ 1,000 people in Mobile, AL within two years of its 2015 opening.
In a strategic move to counter its rival Boeing, Airbus is looking for the plant will lower costs and improve chances of winning U.S. military contracts. Airbus's parent company, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. lost a bid to Boeing last year to build a new the U.S. Air Force refueling tanker in Alabama.
The new plant will make A320 passenger jets which compete directly with Boeing's 737, the medium size planes carrying about 150 passengers that constitute the bulk of the U.S. commercial airliner fleet. Airbus produces more than 400 of the A320 jets a year, more than any of its other planes.
The new plant will join assembly plants in Tianjin, China; Toulouse, France and Hamburg, Germany.
The company likely sought the lower labor costs available in Alabama. Airbus also capitalizes on lower foreign-exchange costs. Alabama offered the company $158 million in incentives such as road improvements and employment training.