Aircraft jobs on the horizon for the Florida Gulf Coast

BY: Greg Fink

Last week Airbus, an aircraft manufacturer based in France, announced their arrival to North America choosing Mobile, Ala. as one of its initial locations for its first American plant. (Airbus is a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company or EADS).

The plant, which has been projected to bring about 1,000 direct jobs, will also help influence the creation of another 4,000 jobs consisting of Tier 1 and Tier 2 support personnel within a 100 mile radius of Mobile – putting Northwest Florida in prime position for possible job growth.

The jobs, which entail interior manufacturing for the Airbus A-320 NEO airplane, have many former local servicemen interested in what they deem a suitable occupation.

“When you look at the number of retired military here and you look at their expertise in training, it makes [Northwest Florida] a great fit for a large number of the subcontractors needed in this development,” said Lane Lynchard, a Santa Rosa County Commissioner.

Rep. Douglas Vaughn Broxson (District 1) of the Florida House stresses that, “these are 40 year jobs. Airbus is making a 40 year commitment. These are not short term jobs by any stretch of the imagination.”

According to Broxson, the Florida Gulf Coast is strategically placed economically and the jobs are truly ours to lose.

“If we are going to bring these jobs to the community, we have to do it right and pull all of our economic development engines together,” Broxson said.

Susan Nelms, executive director at Workforce Escarosa, Inc., states that it’s too early to determine how her organization will be involved with the Airbus plant.

“I do think we will be involved,” Nelms added, “however, we just do not know at which stage yet.”

Representatives from the City of Pensacola and the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce were unavailable for comment.



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