Airbus goes to Alabama

Mobile Alabama’s Brookley Industrial Complex has been selected by EADS North America as the site for the production of the EADS KC-330 aerial refuelling tanker.

Mobile’s Brookley Industrial Complex covers more than 4.5 million square feet of industrial space and includes the Mobile Downtown Airport, which is equipped with two large runways and is already home to aerospace manufacturing, aircraft maintenance and air freight businesses.

The Alabama State Port Authority’s Choctaw Point Container Terminal and Intermodal Yard is directly adjacent to the Brookley site, providing the deepwater port access that is required for the KC-330 production facility’s operation.

The new KC-330 industrial facility will support engineering work on commercial Airbus models and military derivative aircraft – including the A330, A340 and A350 jetliners, as well as the KC-330 tanker.

Production will begin at the Mobile facility when the company receives its first orders from the US Air Force for the refuelling tanker. Activities will include aircraft final assembly, militarisation and modification.

Depending on the size of the Air Force order, EADS says that the total investment in the facility could reach $600 million, and direct employment levels could be as high as 1,000 workers – including a mix of structure mechanics, electronic and systems specialists, engineers, quality assurance personnel and management.