Airbus won’t increase the production rate on the A320 family until introduction of the NEO and it’s now become public that Alabama has presented a proposal to Airbus for an assembly plant there.
Airbus disclosed the plan to freeze the build rate at the previously announced 42/mo during the Airbus Innovation Days we attended last week. Aviation Week has this detailed story.
We alluded to the prospect of a decision by Airbus by year end for an assembly site in Alabama in one of our reports of the Innovation Days. Yesterday, it became public that Alabama has presented a proposal to EADS, parent of Airbus.
Accordingly, here is our take: we think Airbus (EADS) will eventually make the decision to open an A320neo assembly site in Mobile. Here’s why:
- Going beyond rate 42 probably means Hamburg, Toulouse and Tianjin are out of room;
- Airbus wants to increase its US dollar-based footprint to reduce exposure to the volatility of the Euro;
- A US site might help US sales but would make it easier to sell a “Made in America” campaign to the Defense Department for future contracts (expanding Mobile into DOD work); and
- Opening Mobile in connection with neo would open nearer-term delivery slots to compete with the 737 MAX and help worldwide sales availability.
We think the odds are better than 50-50 but it’s tough to handicap this.