Airbus to open factory on rival Boeing’s U.S. turf

MOBILE, Ala., Mon Jul 2, 2012 – European plane maker Airbus confirmed on Monday it plans to build its first assembly plant in the United States, marking an aggressive foray into the world’s busiest aviation market and the home turf of rival Boeing Co.

EADS unit Airbus, the world’s largest commercial jet maker, said the Mobile, Alabama, plant would build up to 50 A320-family jets annually within two years of its 2016 opening and create 1,000 jobs.

It will be the second Airbus plant outside Europe that manufactures its most popular jet, after China.

Analysts said the move, reported by Reuters last week, could reshape the U.S. aerospace industry and boost manufacturing on the U.S. Gulf Coast. But Boeing said the move should not distract attention from controversial European subsidies received by Airbus.

The rivals are involved in the largest-ever dispute at the World Trade Organization, accusing each other of billions of dollars in illegal aircraft subsidies.

A crowd of about 1,000 industry executives and local dignitaries — including American Airlines Chief Executive Tom Horton, JetBlue Airways Corp. CEO Dave Barger and Goodrich Corp. CEO Marshall Larsen – crammed into the Mobile convention center to hear the announcement, arriving to the strains of the rock group Steve Miller Band’s 1977 hit “Jet Airliner” and rocker Tom Petty’s 1991 “Learning to Fly.”