Airbus is weighing plans to build its first U.S. assembly plant in Alabama as the European aircraft manufacturer ratchets up its challenge to Boeing in its domestic market.
The most likely location is Mobile where Airbus planned to build an assembly plant for refueling planes for the USAF and freighters in 2005 for a Pentagon contract it lost to Boeing.
Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier was quoted Wednesday by Spanish newspaper El Economista as saying the company is mulling a new assembly plant and Alabama is one of “many ideas” under consideration.
Airbus has had an aero engineering center in Alabama since 2007.
A plant in the U.S., the world’s biggest single commercial airplane market, would be Airbus’s second outside Europe after Tianjin, near Beijing, where it began assembling aircraft in 2009.
A U.S. presence would reduce Airbus’s currency risks by boosting the share of its costs in dollars, the currency of the international aircraft market.
Labor costs also would be lower in Mobile than at Airbus’s highly unionized European assembly plants in Hamburg, Germany, and Toulouse, France.
An announcement about the plant, which would build A320 narrow body jets, is tipped for the U.K.’s Farnborough Air Show which starts on July 9.
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