Aerospace & Defense

AL: REEL to Open Facility at Mobile Aeroplex to Serve Airbus Alabama

30 Jul, 2015

REEL USA Corp. will open an office and workshop at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, where the company will service the critical jigs and tools used in Airbus’ first U.S. manufacturing facility.

This announcement involving REEL is the latest in a string of Airbus-related expansion moves at the Aeroplex, where the France-based aviation giant is preparing to begin assembly of A320 family passenger jets.

REEL’s new Alabama facility will employ more than 20 people over the project’s three main phases. REEL will lease 4,500 square feet of office, warehouse and workshop space at the Aeroplex, with an ability to expand as needed.

 “Although the final assembly hangar is state-of-the-art and expertly designed, the task of aircraft assembly will happen via the hands of the well-trained employees,” said Roger Wehner, director of Mobile Airport Authority, which owns the Aeroplex. “The jigs and tools elevate them and facilitate the task, and REEL will help them maintain that critical foundation.

“While REEL will support the Airbus production facility, it also constitutes a critical capability set in our constant evolution, and we know this differentiates us from other communities,” Wehner added.

REEL SAS operates several manufacturing plants in France and around the world, specializing in complex handling systems for clients in aerospace and other industries. REEL’s service division was awarded the jigs and tools maintenance service provider contract for the Airbus Alabama facility.

“This world-class company is a great addition to our community as we seek to expand our advanced manufacturing capability,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.

Aeroplex Expansion

With Airbus about to launch assembly on its first Alabama-made passenger jet, the Aeroplex has seen a burst of activity from aerospace companies.

Earlier this month, the Aeroplex announced that AAA Aerospace USA will provide services including engine installation and wheel assembly for the Airbus Alabama facility. AAA is expected to create around 20 full-time jobs once full production is reached.

At the Paris Air Show in June, France-based Hutchinson Corp. announced that it plans to set up an Aerospace Manufacturing Center of Excellence at the Aeroplex, which will serve Airbus and the region’s growing aviation cluster.

Also during the air show, Messier-Buggatti-Dowty, a member of the Safran family of companies, announced plans for an office and workshop at the 1,650-acre industrial complex. In addition, MAAS Aviation announced it will build a $39 million paint hangar at the Aeroplex.

Days later, the initial shipment of major components for the maiden Alabama-made Airbus jet arrived in Mobile. Wehner reported that another shipment was arriving at the Aeroplex.