MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Airbus Chairman Allan McArtor was in the Port City Wednesday to talk to potential suppliers. The first A320 passenger plane is expected to roll out of Mobile in 2016. Before that, a lot of planning needs to be done.
The next step is hiring suppliers for both the construction of the assembly plant and the actual production of airplanes when the time comes.
Since 1990, Airbus reports they've spent $140 billion in purchases with U.S. suppliers. And they hope to double that number in the next 10 years.
On Wednesday, the Convention Center was bursting with excitement from business owners hoping to get a piece of the Airbus pie.
"We're here just to figure out what's going on with Airbus and to hopefully learn about some new opportunities," said Derick Boutwell, Project Manager at S & S Sprinkler Co.
"I really believe this is going to bring a lot of job opportunities in the construction industry to Mobile," said Kim Chastang, with Empire Concrete Pumping in Loxley.
"We specialize in temporary relocation. We have corporate apartments in Alabama and Mississippi and we're just thrilled to death that Airbus is here. We're hoping they'll utilize our services and we're just happy for the whole community," said Shawn Cushing, co-owner of FLC Living.
The Chairman of Airbus Americas, Allan McArtor, told the group of potential suppliers that the timeline for Mobile's assembly plan is quickly coming into focus.
"We have the groundbreaking in April. We'll begin heavy construction in August and by Mardi Gras of 2016 we'll deliver an airplane," said McArtor.
McArtor also discussed the consideration of a new assembly line for it's A350 wide body jets.
"It won't really benefit Mobile. You know I've always said that we have the ability to expand at Brookley field. But our focus is on the A320 family right now. Whether or not we create a new final assembly for the 350 we don't know the answer to that but it's not likely that it will impact Mobile," said McArtor.
But that doesn't mean the possibility for future developments at Brookley Aeroplex aren't bright.
"We've got reserved at Brookley field almost twice as much acreage as we need for the A320 project. So there's plenty of room in the future for, who knows, another tanker project, military conversion project, expansion of the A320 to even higher rates of production," said McArtor.
Of the 700 Airbus supplier hopefuls there Wednesday, most were from Alabama. But there were business owners there from as far away as California.
If you missed the meeting, it's not too late to get involved. The first step is to register on the Airbus website