European airplane manufacturer Airbus has reportedly signalled its intentions to build its first US based plant in Mobile, Alabama. They hope to attract major US carriers with ageing fleets.
Citing unnamed individuals with knowledge of the plan, the Associated Press news agency said an Airbus manufacturing plant could have the potential to assemble dozens of their popular A320 jet each year, encroaching on the home market of aviation competitor, Boeing.
The French-based company was expected to make a public announcement about the plans as early as Monday, reported the agency, but Stefan Schaffrath, a spokesperson for Airbus said the airline "had nothing to announce at this point."
Airbus had sized up the market and was hedging its bets that US airlines, many of which consist primarily of aging aircraft, would be enticed into purchasing an A320 Airbus that was "made in America" over Boeing's rival 737, the AP reported.
Airbus holds a 20 percent stake in the US single-aisle plane market, while globally Airbus and Boeing have equal market share.
Opening an American factory could raise suspicions across Europe and among trade unions, particularly in France.
Newly elected President Francois Hollande warned private enterprise his government would punish companies moving jobs overseas, slugging them with higher tax penalties and cutting state subsidies.
jlw/ncy (AP, AFP, Reuters)