European airplane manufacturer Airbus SAS will build its first U.S. factory in Mobile, Ala., as it ramps up competition with its main rival, U.S.-based Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), The Associated Press reported Thursday.
The plant, which may be built in the Mobile, Ala., area, will manufacture the single-aisle, 150-seat A320 jet, the French company's best-selling aircraft, according to people familiar with the matter. Airbus may announce its plans Monday.
The A320, which competes with Boeing's 737, is a popular airplane model used frequently by U.S. airline companies including Delta, United Airlines and U.S. Airways.
Airbus officials say that single-aisle jet models will account for about 70 percent of new jet sales around the world over the next 20 years. As many as 19,200 such planes worth $1.4 trillion could be produced by 2030, with 40 percent of the aircraft replacing obsolescent and less fuel-efficient planes.
We have made no secret of our hopes to expand our global footprint, including in the U.S., as we have a very strong market here, Airbus spokeswoman Mary Anne Greczyn told the AP.