Officials hope for EADS help

Published 12:20 pm Monday, September 18, 2006

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Local economic development officials are hoping that if a Mobile aircraft manufacturing project goes forward, some of the benefits might trickle north to Escambia County.
Suppliers for EADS North America, which hopes to build military aircraft at Brookley Field in Mobile, might be interested in locating in a 75-mile radius of the facility, said Escambia County Industrial Development Authority Director Marshall Rogers and Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority Director Wiley Blankenship.
Blankenship said suppliers for an aircraft manufacturer aren't quite the same thing as a auto manufacturer - considering that cars are turned out of a factory at a rate of hundreds per day, while a single airplane can take up to 18 months to build.
But smaller industries can have a big impact - especially because they allow a community to diversify.
EADS suppliers could make products such as aircraft chairs or avionics, he said.
EADS North America has teamed with Northrup Grumman on a proposal to build a new fleet of refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force.
The bidders said they would assemble the aircraft at Brookley Field Industrial Complex in Mobile.
The Press-Register of Mobile reported earlier this month that the Air Force is expected to make a decision on the winner of the contract by next summer.