Airbus to build first US plant

Airbus to build first US plant

NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse
Airbus to build first US plant

An Airbus employee installs an engine for an A320 plane under construction. REUTERS photo

European aircraft maker Airbus plans to build its first plant in the United States, moving into the world’s largest market for single-aisle planes, The New York Times has reported.

Airbus plans to invest several hundred million dollars a plant in Mobile, Alabama, said the Times, citing people with knowledge of the plan.

The Mobile plant could eventually assemble dozens of Airbus’s popular 150-seat A320 jets each year, challenging the home market of its arch-rival Boeing, the newspaper said.

The Toulouse, France-based Airbus was expected to announce the details as early as the start of next week, according to sources, the Times said.

Stefan Schaffrath, an Airbus spokesman, told the newspaper on June 27 that the company had “nothing to announce at this point.” The Times said that Airbus is making a bet that US airlines, many of which are saddled with large fleets of aging jets, would be enticed to consider an A320 that was “made in America” over Boeing’s competing 737.

By doing the final assembly of the planes with non-union American workers, and in dollars, Airbus also stands to shave off significant production costs, it noted.