FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WALA) - Get ready to see the Airbus assembly plant at Brookley Aeroplex move into an eye-catching new phase in the next couple of weeks.
That's the word from a top Airbus official who spoke to business leaders in Baldwin County Tuesday, September 10.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Up until now, you've seen drainage pipe being put down and other underground work going in at the assembly plant site.
A top Airbus official told business leaders in Fairhope that's about to change. He also answered an important question concerning jobs for people here in Mobile.
When will those supplier companies for Airbus start setting up shop in the area?
While the groundwork continues at the Airbus assembly site, Airbus officials like David Trent, the site director for the Mobile Engineering Center, are speaking to groups like the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce informing them about the latest developments at the construction site.
Trent said, "You might see some vertical stuff starting in the next few days. A lot of the foundation work is being done. If you've been out to Brookley and seen a bunch of piles of dirt, you're going to start to see some vertical stuff go up here pretty quickly."
WHEN WILL SUPPLIERS COME?
While showing video of some of the work being done at Airbus facility in Germany, Trent also talked about when we will start to see suppliers move into the area.
He said, "Probably, until we get into a rhythm where we're delivering airplane after airplane after airplane, I think that's when suppliers will really start wanting to move here. In the meantime, there are going to be a lot of people looking."
The president of the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, Lee Lawson, said initially, with only a limited number of planes being produced, many suppliers don't have to be here.
Lawson said, "It's going to be years before you see a mass of suppliers locate in this region. It just is. And, a lot of them we're talking to have a process, and, at four planes a month, it doesn't really require suppliers to be here on the ground."
Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey said for now, that may be a good thing.
Dorsey said, "It's probably better for us, as a community, that we don't have 25,000 people landing here tomorrow looking for work, and spaces open up, so that coastal Alabama can look to our infrastructure needs."
NO PROBLEM FINDING QUALIFIED WORKERS
As for finding qualified workers in the Mobile area, Trent said that hasn't been a problem.
He said, "There's going to be a lot of blue collar workers. There's a lot of training programs in place now through AIDT to try to equip these guys. There's a lot of those type of people in, I'd say, a high sophisticated manufacturing type mindset."
AIDT is an agency under the supervision of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
It's the agency responsible for hiring Airbus workers, and it also has training programs available.
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