USA - European plane maker Airbus opens new plant in Alabama

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The battle for supremacy between Airbus and Boeing is heating up. Eyeing potential contracts with US-based companies, the European airplane maker on Monday opened a new plant in the southern state of Alabama. Mobile, Alabama is hardly synonymous with aerospace engineering, but that could be changing. Airbus – the European plane firm with its headquarters in Toulouse, France – has inaugurated a new manufacturing plant in the Gulf Coast city. It is the company’s first production site in the United States, and only its second overseas assembly line.

Airbus says it has invested more than half a billion euros in Mobile as it launches its new facility, claiming there could be a market for up to 5,000 US-built planes over the next 20 years.

It could employ as many as 1,000 workers by 2018 at the site, which will be dedicated to the production of A320 planes. US rival Boeing has not taken the aggressive business move on its home turf lightly, warning local officials that the European company could take off abruptly if its business plan flops.