Airbus looks to increase, US, Canada spending

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Spending in Canada

Joe Marcheschi of Airbus. Photo via Google images.

Marcheschi was at the Abbotsford Air Show speaking at the ADSE conference, which included an eco-segment.

The company purchases auxiliary power units from United Technologies Aerospace Systems, aerostructures, landing gear components, A330 center wing box components from Bombardier and power distribution systems for the A380 from Canadian suppliers.

Airbus currently spends about 25% of its global purchasing in the US, and it wants to see this rise to about 40% “outside Europe” by 2020.

Ruben Tauste, also of Airbus, told the ADSE that Canadian companies wanting to be suppliers must be innovative.

“Don’t be ‘me-too’ suppliers,” he said. “Know what’s going on in your country. Be proactive. Focus and research and development.”

Alabama

Marcheschi said that Airbus is encouraging development of an eco-supply base around its A320 Final Assembly Line in Mobile.

There isn’t necessarily a need for big brick-and-mortar facilities, he said.

“Having a local presence in case there is a need for rework or touch ups” is needed, he said. Interiors, avionics, engines, seals and similar products should have a local presence, as should services.

“We’d really like to have key suppliers have a presence there, or a representative,” Marcheschi said. “Support services, MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) services can act as agents. We don’t necessarily need a manufacturing facility. It could be a workshop, or a support function.”

The US Southeast

Airbus also buys from companies in neighboring states and others in the US Southeast, including Mississippi, Florida and Tennessee. Each state has a growing aerospace supply chain.

Airbus buys avionics and components from Florida suppliers. Its Americas Flight Training Center is in Florida. Wings for the A330 are produced in Tennessee.

Washington State

Washington State has fallen from the No. 2 US supplier by company count to No. 6 for Airbus Commercial, but the number of companies in WA rose from 25 to around 50, an Airbus spokesperson says. The dollar volume has jumped from No. 5 nationally to No. 4.

Ohio and Connecticut are first and second by dollars spent, not surprising, given that GE and Pratt & Whitney engines come from these states. California remains No. 3 by dollar volume and North Carolina now follows Washington, displacing Arizona. Airbus receives A350 fuselage panels from Spirit Aerosystems, which has a production plant in Kinston (NC.)

Airbus declined to specify the dollar amount spent in Washington, but when it did seven or eight years ago, it was $250m per year.

Eco Efforts

Airbus ranked 14th on Newsweek magazine’s Global 500 Green Ranking in 2016. The top Industrials company ranked ninth; Airbus was third among Industrials. Boeing was 65th. Neither Bombardier nor Embraer made the list. (Oddly, electric car maker Tesla ranked 411th.)

Marcheschi said that work needs to be done on environmentally safe disposal of composite waste. Eighty percent of this now is burned or goes into landfills.

“We need to find another way,” he told the ADSE conference. “In Europe, we can’t transport waste between countries.”

Ways that Airbus wants to further reduce its environmental footprint is through new technology and innovative structures, Marcheschi said, including new materials, more composites and advanced alloys.

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