Aerospace & Defense

AL: France-based Hutchinson Picks Alabama for Aerospace Facility

16 Jun, 2015

At the Paris Air Show, Hutchinson Corp. announced plans to open an Aerospace Manufacturing Center of Excellence at Mobile Aeroplex, positioning the French company to serve Airbus’ Alabama assembly line and the region’s expanding aerospace industry.

“We look forward to working with the Alabama economic development team and the state’s leadership to establish another high performance, customer-focused Manufacturing Center of Excellence that will expand Hutchinson’s operations in North America – most importantly by establishing key sites close to key aerospace customers,” said Laurent Poirier, president of Hutchinson Aerospace.

Hutchinson officials said they will launch the company’s Mobile facility with a “last minute shop” to support the nearby Airbus assembly complex, a FAA-certified repair center, and a service center focusing on final delivery of thermal acoustic insulation systems. Operations are expected to begin at Mobile Aeroplex in late summer or early fall.

“Mobile is a destination city for the aerospace industry. Companies like Hutchinson recognize that if you want great workers, a great quality of life and a great business climate, then you need to locate in Mobile,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.

Over the next five years, Hutchinson projects significant growth for the Alabama facility, adding increased production, assembly, maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO), and service operations.

Commerce’s Greg Canfield speaks at the Hutchinson press conference in Paris.

At the press conference today, Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Hutchinson’s announcement represented three years of recruitment by Mobile’s economic development team, with an assist from Commerce. Afterward, he shared a hug with Cedric Duclos, president and CEO of Hutchinson North America.

“Hutchinson’s decision to open an Aerospace Manufacturing Center of Excellence at Mobile Aeroplex underscores the attractiveness of Alabama to companies looking to establish a presence in the region’s fast-growing aviation sector,” Secretary Canfield said.

“Hutchinson is a recognized world-class company in aerospace,” he added. “With its unsurpassed reputation in vibration and acoustic insulation systems, Hutchinson’s manufacturing presence in Mobile is exactly the kind of company we have worked to attract in support of the Airbus assembly facility.”

Airbus will begin production of its first U.S.-made passenger jet at its new, $600 million Alabama facility this summer, shortly after the initial shipment of aircraft components arrives in Mobile. Since the Airbus project was announced in 2012, Alabama economic development officials have been working to line up suppliers and service providers for the aviation giant’s production center.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, who spoke at the press conference, said he expects Hutchinson and Mobile to form a solid partnership and recalled that French settlers started the city. “The French came to Alabama and founded Mobile,” he said. “Now, they’re coming back in force.”

Strategic Move

The new Alabama facility fits into Paris-based Hutchinson’s plans to increase its footprint in the United States to fully support the North American aerospace and defense industry. Besides Airbus, the company’s aerospace customers include United Technologies, Cessna, Bell Helicopter, Safran, Dassault Aviation and Bombardier.

Hutchinson employs more than 35,000 people in 25 countries and 96 sites worldwide. The company’s other business lines focus on the automotive, heavy truck and railroad markets.

“Establishing a manufacturing Center of Excellence in close proximity to the new Airbus facility in Mobile clearly enhances Hutchinson’s position as a major player in the aerospace industry in North America – and will enable robust support to the long list of U.S.-based aerospace customers,” Duclos said.

Mobile Chamber’s Troy Wayman speaks at the Hutchinson press event.

Officials from Mobile cheered Hutchinson’s announcement. Troy Wayman, vice president of economic development at the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, said Hutchinson represents the type of Tier 1 aerospace supplier that has been targeted by the Mobile team’s recruiting efforts.

“This announcement is evidence of the partnership between Airbus, its supplier partners, the community and the Mobile Airport Authority,” said Roger Wehner, executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority, which owns and operates the Aeroplex.  “We look forwarding to working in concert with Hutchinson to establish them at the Aeroplex and look forward to actively supporting their growth.”