Well, the City by the Bay got sweet revenge this week when Airbus announced it would build a $600 million plant at Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex. This will create 2,500 construction jobs to get it up and running and will provide employment for around 1,000 when it is fully operational.
Airbus, which has long sought to establish itself in the United States, gets just that. U.S. manufacturing gets a boost. And Alabama takes another step toward becoming a significant player in the aerospace industry.
The Brookley complex is already home to several aerospace companies, and with Airbus’ arrival, the state will surely attract more. Indeed, even Boeing, whose VP once spoke so disparagingly about Alabama workers, employs several hundred in Huntsville. Some forecast Airbus could have the same transforming effect as the coming of Mercedes-Benz in Vance in 1993.
The new plant will build the A320, a short- and medium-haul plane widely flown by Delta Air Lines, US Airways and others. American Airlines ordered 260 of them last year at a cost of around $88 million each. Boeing is ramping up production of its 737, which is similar to the A320, so the competition between the two should be fierce.
Meanwhile, congratulations are in order for former Gov. Bob Riley, who kept courting Airbus even when it lost the tanker contract; to the administration of Gov. Robert Bentley for finalizing the deal; for our congressional delegation who threw their support behind the effort; for Mobile officials who aggressively sold the advantages of their city; and to David Bronner, head of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, whose invest-in-Alabama strategy helped pave the way for Airbus.
Good job. Now let’s put people to work.