Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Tue September 15 2015

Airbus Opens First American Factory in Alabama

Airlines & Airports | Donald Wood | September 15, 2015

Airbus Opens First American Factory in Alabama

PHOTO: At the inauguration ceremony for Airbus’ U.S. Manufacturing Facility are (from left to right): Airbus Group, Inc. Chairman and CEO Allan McArtor; Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders; and Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier (Photo courtesy of Airbus)

Airbus is one of the largest manufacturers of airplanes in the world, and the company finally made its way to the United States with the Monday opening of a new production plant in Alabama.

According to a report from Reuters, Airbus Group SA opened the $600 million plant in Mobile, Alabama, specifically to build single-aisle airplanes. The company’s plan is to construct and deliver 50 narrow-body jets a month by 2017, a number that could climb as Airbus continues to fill a backlog of more than 5,400 planes.

During the inauguration ceremony for the new factory, Airbus CEO Tom Enders revealed that the company is looking to become a major competitor in the American market, going head-to-head with Boeing.

Airbus currently only provides 20 percent of the planes being flown in the United States today, but the company fully expects the share to jump to 40 percent when carriers like American Airlines begin taking deliveries of Airbus planes already ordered.

While both Airbus and Boeing have an even split on the international market, Airbus’ focus on taking a bigger stake of the world’s largest aerospace market in the United States could draw the brand closer to its competition.

The Airbus company already builds helicopters in America, but it plans on using the expansion of the Mobile factory to become a bigger name in the bidding for future defense contracts, leveraging the new buildings as a military facility as well.

Airbus is also a top provider of aircrafts for China, though, which is dealing with an economic slowdown in recent months. The Chinese economic issues have caused concerns regarding whether or not the company would have to slow down its current pace of production.

In response to concerns about jobs being lost at the Alabama plant, Enders said in a statement, “We would always do that in a balanced way. There's no political pressures or anything. But I have no reason that we are slowing down. Our challenge right now is to bring up production.”

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