EADS to Build U.S. Assembly Line for Airbus A320

3 Jul 2012

The move into the heart of Boeing’s home market is part of a long-term strategy by Airbus aimed at doubling its share of the world’s largest market for 150-seat airplanes, which includes Boeing’s top-selling 737.

“This is the right move at the right time and in the right place for Airbus,” said Fabrice Brégier, the new chief executive of Airbus. “With this step, we will be the only genuine global player in the aerospace industry.”

The move follows about nine months of intense discussions within Airbus and its parent company, European Aeronautic Defense & Space, said several Airbus executives with knowledge of the project. The aerospace group is betting that U.S. airlines, many of which have large fleets of aging aircraft, will be enticed to consider an A320 that was made in America over the Boeing 737.

The plan calls for the construction of a plant capable of assembling 40 to 50 A320 jets a year by the end of 2017, according to these executives. Construction of the site — which will build aircraft from prefabricated sections built at Airbus factories in Germany and France — is set to begin next summer, with the first A320 assemblies beginning in 2015, Airbus said.

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