By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded the decision by aircraft manufacturer Airbus to build their first North American manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama. This airliner assembly plant will create 1,000 new manufacturing jobs in Alabama.
The President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thomas J. Donahoe said, “Today’s announcement is a clear signal to companies around the world that the U.S. remains a major manufacturing hub that welcomes investment. A leader in the global aerospace industry, Airbus’ decision shows enormous confidence not only in U.S. markets but also in U.S. workers. This is another step forward in our country’s broader economic recovery, but we must continue to foster a business friendly environment. Global capital and investment will only go where it is safe and welcome.”
Following the Monday announcement Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Alabama Department of Commerce Head Greg Canfield traveled with a delegation to Europe to prepare a plan to begin training the Alabama workforce for the highly skilled aircraft manufacturing jobs.
Greg Canfield said on Facebook, “We visited the Hamburg, Germany Airbus Final Assembly Line facility for the A320 today to learn what will be required in Mobile and to get a firsthand look at the job operations for recruitment and training purposes.”
The delegation is expected to head on to Paris for more meetings with Airbus executives. Last year’s recruiting trip to meet with Airbus at the Paris Air Show was the first time that Governor Bentley had been to Europe.
Governor Bentley told the ‘Mobile Press Register’ last June before the Paris trip: “We’re still talking. I believe they still want a U.S. presence, but they’ve got some internal struggles to work through. The important thing we want to show them is that we still want them and are ready to support them. I’ll do everything I can to convince them to come.”
Bentley said at the time that he was holding a package of cash and other tax incentives for EADS in Mobile who had lost a contract to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force in Mobile to their global rival, Boeing. “I’ve left those incentives on the table to give them the opportunity to examine their options.” “As long as there’s a possibility to get them here, we’ll keep everything in place.” Bentley said that Brookley Field, a former Air Force base with access to highways, rail lines and the Port of Mobile was Alabama’s best asset. “It is probably the best industrial site in the Southeast, and maybe the whole country,” Gov. Bentley said. “EADS knows that as well than anyone. But it isn’t just the site. They love Mobile and the people there, and we love them back.”
The new plant is expected to be at full production by 2017 and will build 40 to 50 aircraft per year worth approximately $84 million each.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation and represents the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.