Airbus plans factory in US, Europeans fear job loss
By Lénaïc Vaudin d’Imécourt | Tuesday 03 July 2012
European aircraft maker Airbus unveiled plans, on 2 July, to open its second foreign-based assembly line in Alabama in the US, pledging a US$600 million investment in the region. The establishment of an A320 Family jetliner final assembly line in the small town of Mobile would generate 1,000 jobs, Airbus officials say.
But with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) subsidiary opening up its market to the US, expecting to start building A320 models at the new plant in 2015 and to produce 40 to 50 aircraft annually by 2018, Airbus’s European employees live in fear of losing their jobs. Trade unions are already pressing the Toulouse, France-based company to give them guarantees that it will not increase its production in the US at the expense of European production.
These concerns were echoed by French MEP Christine de Veyrac (EPP), who called for Airbus to be cautious in its move. “If such an investment, with the substantial financial effort it represents, can be the necessary leverage to enter the American market, it should not contribute to the weakening of Airbus’s commitment in Europe,” de Veyrac said. “The announcement of Airbus’s plan to create an assembly line in the US merits being detailed and clarified,” she added.
In a statement e-mailed to
Europolitics, Boeing explained that should Airbus create 1,000 jobs in Alabama, “the numbers pale in comparison to the thousands of US jobs destroyed by illegal subsidies, which Airbus and its European government underwriters have failed to remove to the satisfaction of the US government and in direct contravention of international trade law”.