We've been getting a lot of indications for a while now that the Airbus A320 plant in Mobile, Ala., which had its official inaugural last month, will end up building more than four planes a month.
Now Mayor Sandy Stimpson has added his voice to the discussion. He told Reuters that Airbus is likely to increase aircraft output in Mobile beyond its current target. He said he based his view on public statements by Airbus and conversations with Airbus officials, not special knowledge of Airbus plans.
Airbus has said it could produce up to eight single-aisle jetliners a month at the plant at Mobile Aeroplex, but plans to build four a month by 2017. An Airbus spokeswoman said there were "currently no plans to change that rate."
Airbus has a backlog of 5,502 orders for its A320 family of jetliners. That's nearly 11 years of production. (Post)
Not surprisingly, Airbus came up during the 19th annual Gulf Power Symposium held early in the week at Sandestin resort. The two-day symposium had some 650 people registered, a number that keeps growing every year. This year the theme was "Think Big, Think Northwest Florida."
The symposium covers a range of economic topics, from tourism to ports and more. One talk focused on aerospace, a key growth area for Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast I-10 corridor.
Kevin Michael, vice president of ICF International, discussed the Southeast and its growing role in the aerospace supply chain. He said a combination of factors, including increasing labor costs overseas and new technologies, has made the United States, and particularly the Southeast, appealing to the aerospace industry.
Michael's talk was called "Rightshoring: The New Aerospace Supply Chain Imperative." He said the offshoring trend that began in 2000 has changed, and in 2012 something he calls rightshoring began to take hold.
That occurred when labor costs outside the United States went up and labor became a smaller portion of the cost of manufacturing. He said one issue that may impact the Southeast is Airbus' request to suppliers to cut costs by 10 percent. He said that might prompt some European suppliers to take another look at the United States as an option. (Post)
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