Airbus in Mobile could mean jobs in South Mississippi

MOBILE, AL (WLOX) - Monday's big announcement that Airbus will locate its first assembly plant in the United States in Mobile, Alabama was an economic coup for the entire Gulf South.

"Mobile is ready, South Alabama is ready and the Gulf Coast is ready to once again step back on that world stage and lead," Alabama Congressman Jo Bonner said.

Mississippians at the signing ceremony agree, including Jackson County Economic Development Director George Freeland.

"Without doubt, we are part of that same economic development labor shed. No question that initially and immediately, Mississippians will impact the construction phase of this and certainly to a large extent, the long term equation as well," Freeland said.

"In the same way that our large shipbuilding business in Pascagoula, Mississippi sees no state lines, this great facility in the state of Alabama won't recognize the lines between Mississippi and Alabama," said the former President of Ingalls Shipbuilding, Jerry St. Pe'.

Airbus executives, including Alan McArtor, predict a similar outcome.

"We have already received support and comments of support from the governors of the adjacent states applauding the fact that Airbus is coming to Mobile, Alabama because they know that they're going to get their share jobs and component supply in their states," McArtor said.

Even though the Airbus production facility is being located at Brookley Field in Mobile, it's long been a goal across the central Gulf South to build something like this that would impact the entire region, according to St. Pe'.

"Jackson County's economic development strategy has long focused on the fact that we are a regional economy."

And that means a regional success story as well.

Construction on the assembly plant will begin in the summer of 2013. The facility will start building passenger jets in 2015, producing as many as 50 a year and up to 4,600 jets during the next 20 years.

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