By Kelli Dugan, Karen Jacobs and Tim Hepher
Airbus is about to get a Green Card.
Plans to build a $600 million plant in Mobile, Alabama to produce A320 passenger planes will give Europe's jet maker a strategic foothold on U.S. soil while breathing life into American manufacturing.
By retracing the footsteps of French settlers who founded Mobile as the first capital of then French Louisiana in 1702, the Toulouse-based company hopes to strike directly at rival Boeing on its home turf and create a springboard for future bids to win U.S. aircraft and defense deals. Monday's expected announcement is the fruit of several years of efforts by parent EADS, Europe's largest aerospace group, to acquire an American identity.