AIRBUS MAY OPEN US PLANT

AIRBUS MAY OPEN US PLANT

Airbus Industrie may open a manufacturing and assembly plant for commercial jets in the United States by the end of the year, an official of the European consortium told the Seattle Times.

Tuesday's editions of the Times quoted Adam Brown, Airbus vice president of strategic planning, as saying Airbus hoped to set up shop in idle facilities owned by McDonnell Douglas, a rival commercial jet manufacturer, or Lockheed, which no longer manufactures commercial airplanes.Mr. Brown's comments came in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, where he was attending an aircraft suppliers conference.

Last year Airbus, an English, French, German and Spanish consortium, delivered 31 planes, compared with 270 by the Boeing Co. of Seattle, the world's leading producer of civilian passenger and cargo jets.

Boeing Co. officials refused to comment on the potential impact of an Airbus plant in the United States.

The stated goal of Airbus is to deliver 120 jets a year by 1990. There is now a four-year backlog of orders for about 450 planes at its lone assembly plant in Toulouse, France.

Mr. Brown said the desired U.S. plant would be used to produce a stretched version of the 150-seat A-320 to compete with the Boeing 737-400 or 757.

The A-320 is scheduled to enter commercial service next month, with the stretched version to be available in 1993.

Airbus officials want to produce 500 aircraft in the United States over 10 years, he added.