Airbus: Uncle Sam, here we come!

On 29-06-2012, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

The best kept secret in the State of Alabama these days is the Airbus announcement expected to come on Monday, 2 July at 10a local time, that they will open their first aircraft manufacturing plant in Mobile, Alabama. Mobile already hosts the Airbus North America engineering center.

Back in the days when Airbus and Boeing were competing in the US Air Force’s race to build the new tankers, Mobile had already been earmarked by Airbus as the site for their US manufacturing operation. When Airbus lost to Boeing, for a time it seemed that Mobile’s dreams of becoming the South’s Seattle were dead in the water…

Airbus has been pondering a US manufacturing plant for some time and there are several good reasons for setting up shop in the States. For one, making costs in building planes in euros and then selling them for dollars is not always a good idea. With the euro down against the dollar this issue is less acute but even at the current rate of exchange, it makes sense to operate completely in a dollar environment. The economics will further improve on account of being free of high European labor costs. Last but not least, an Airbus A320 stamped “Proudly Made in the USA” will probably add just enough additional attraction to swing a few more airlines to buy Airbus rather than Boeing.

Airbus aircraft are popular with US based airlines and seeing a new Airbus plant growing up in their backyard will certainly make the Boeing folks in Chicago think hard on how to counter the new threat.

Competition is good…

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