The new project is in addition to the MAAS paint facility that will be completed soon at the $600 million Airbus Alabama passenger jet production center. Investment in the Airbus paint shop was estimated at $13 million when MAAS announced that project in 2014.
The new paint facility at the Aeroplex will focus on the commercial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market in the Americas. The 2-acre site stands between Airbus to the south, the VTMAE MRO hangar complex to the north, and the general aviation and business jet MRO operations of Continental Motors Services to the west.
Construction of the state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive facility will begin this fall 2015, with the first aircraft to be painted in October 2016, according to the Mobile Airport Authority (MAA).
MAAS estimates the creation of more than 80 full-time jobs at its aircraft painting facilities at Mobile Aeroplex, and the company will be offering extensive training for new hires.
Roger Wehner, the MAA’s executive director, said the authority has forged a strong partnership with MAAS over the past year. He said the company’s training programs as well as its quality-focused processes makes it a formidable competitor in the field.
“This facility represents a new capability not only for the Aeroplex but for the broader Southeastern region,” Wehner said. “The growth of our new aircraft assembly cluster dovetails with our existing MRO cluster creating one mutually complementary ecosystem. The cumulative capability set allows for more robust solutions spanning the aircraft lifecycle.”
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the state’s aerospace and aviation sector will benefit from the MAAS project and Monday’s announcement by Paris-based Hutchinson that it will establish a manufacturing Center of Excellence and MRO facility at Brookley.
“We knew when we recruited Airbus to Alabama that many other substantial players in the aviation industry would follow in their path,” said Canfield, who attended the Hutchinson announcement at the Paris Air Show. “We are committed to working with our allies in Mobile and across Alabama to attract new investment in the aerospace sector and secure the well-paying jobs that comes with it.”
Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus Group, said new aviation players will enhance the Aeroplex’s reputation. Airbus will begin production of A320 family aircraft there in a few weeks, after the first shipment of major components for the maiden Alabama-made passenger jet arrives at the Port of Mobile this week.
“It’s great that the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility has helped to draw them to Mobile, which has so much to offer,” McArtor said. “Together we will help Mobile grow into world-class aerospace center, and hopefully welcome even more ‘new neighbors’ as we move forward.”