Mobile Flying High on Airbus Updrafts

Electronic billboards offer a brilliant welcome to Mobile’s newest industrial resident, Airbus, which plans to start work on its first U.S. aircraft assembly line here in mid-2013.

Statewide news coverage continued to be jolly in the month after Airbus announced its plans. The Mobile Press-Register reported that Moody’s Investor Service, while not adjusting the city’s credit rating, said the anticipated drop in unemployment would be measurable and that the city and probably the entire state would see better credit numbers.

About the same time, the paper reported on the effect that Airbus sister company American Eurocopter had on its hometown of Columbus, Miss., bringing in a host of support businesses, as well as the company itself, and reformatting Columbus from sleepy rural town to industrial powerhouse.

Then in early August, Airbus brightened the stories even more, saying that it plans to double its purchases from U.S. suppliers, to meet a “disturbingly healthy” demand for its aircraft, according to a story in the Mobile Press-Register.

Success with Airbus is an example of enormous teamwork, says Mobile real estate and construction executive John White-Spunner, listing the Chamber of Commerce, elected officials, even the four-state aerospace alliance as key to attracting the big international win. News that Airbus is coming has brought inquiries from major companies that have never given the Port City much attention, White-Spunner says, prompting local developers to start polishing up their property surveys.

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By Nedra Bloom

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