MONTGOMERY, Alabama — In a column for CNBC’s web site, Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus Americas, explains why Airbus chose Alabama as the home for its most advanced A320 assembly line – a project he calls the “most significant, game-changing event in U.S. aerospace in decades.”
While McArtor points to several factors that made Alabama a perfect choice for Airbus’ first U.S. production center, he stresses the strong relationships forged with Alabama officials as a key reason behind the decision.
“The endeavor to bring Airbus to Alabama is a shining example of what can happen when people work together,” he writes. “Relationships can be formed that help a company realize it could do business there for a very long time. In short, we knew what we needed, and Mobile and Alabama are the ones who convinced us they would stand with us.”
McArtor notes that Alabama officials from all levels – city, state and federal – worked in unison, with a single goal of showing that Alabama would be a long-term partner for the aircraft manufacturer.
Having an ideal location at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley was critically important, as was Alabama’s track record at delivering prepared workers, he added.
“The site was perfect, with an airport and ocean port, and adequate land at Brookley Aeroplex. Workforce was also vital. We were encouraged by the auto industry’s success in Alabama because its manufacturing aspect is a trained skill similar to that of aircraft assembly.”
Construction work at the Airbus site in Mobile began last spring, and the $600 million facility will begin producing the A320 family of jets in 2015. The assembly line is close to an engineering center Airbus already operates at Brookley, and Alabama officials hope to lure Airbus suppliers to the industrial complex.
“The state already has so much to offer our current and future employees, and as Airbus grows, and more companies and people move in to support the assembly line, those offerings will grow,” McArtor writes. “I look forward to working together with the people of Alabama to build a great future for all.”