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Airbus expansion could make Alabama a major player in world aviation


An announcement in Mobile could make Alabama’s port city the fourth biggest spot in the world for building passenger jets. Demand for single aisle planes like the one Airbus builds in Mobile is booming. That’s driving plans to expand the company’s assembly center along the Alabama Gulf coast. And that means more manufacturing jobs for the area.

“We have globally decided we're going to increase the rate of our 320 family to 75 airplanes and because of that we will build an additional final assembly line right here in Mobile,” said Jeffery Knittel, chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas.

“Now, not only will it be a final assembly line, but we'll have a new paint shop and it will have major modifications to our existing hangar, but most importantly to you and others, we will hire an additional 1,000 employees,” Knittel said.

“Do y'all realize that, that we'll be the fourth largest city in the world as far as aviation goes?” Mayor Sandy Stimpson told onlookers in Alabama’s port city.

“In the aviation world, they'll talk about Toulouse France. They'll talk about Hamburg. They'll talk about Seattle, but most of all, they're going to be talking about you and Mobile,” Stimpson speculated.

Mobile is working to move its main airport from the western part of town to the Brookley facility. That’s a former Air Force base. Stimpson says Airbus’s plans will ensure that the downtown airport takes off.

“It's tremendous,” said the Mayor. “When you combine, moving or relocating the airport with Airbus being there. This almost ensures the success of that airport simply because of the number of people who will be coming in and out of the city calling on Airbus, so it's a big, big, big deal.

Airbus will start building the 350,000 square foot addition in early 2023. The company and expects to roll out the first A320s on the line in 2025.

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