COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- American Eurocopter is now flying under the name Airbus Helicopters Inc. Industry leaders from Mississippi to France gathered in Columbus Tuesday morning and delivered a major announcement.
“The plant here in Columbus has been in charge of Lakota. Our next step, which has been decided, is the production of the AStar; the very successful, helicopter AStar here in Columbus, MS. We will produce up to 60 helicopters per year in the plant here and this is a major decision for the group,” said Guillaume Faury, President & CEO.
AStar is the best selling civil and commercial helicopter in the United States. Successful production of Lakota helicopter at Columbus’s facility made the decision for choosing the golden triangle easy.
“Columbus, Mississippi has been seen as the most attractive one due to a combination of factors including: skills of people, environment, competitiveness of labor. So when we have competitiveness and good skills and good teams we extend the capabilities. This will secure jobs which are here in Columbus and this is contributing to securing as well the know-how and the lives of the people,” said Faury.
“It’s pretty clear that Airbus helicopters, since we arrived, has led the way on much of the economic growth that’s taken place. When we came here originally in 2001, there was nothing out at this airport. Today, you look around. There’s Severstal, there’s PACCAR, Stark Aerospace, Aurora. We led the way. We had some insight on what this place could mean, what it could give us and what it could provide and the quality of the labor force. And I think that’s proven itself,” said Sam Adcock, General Manager of Mississippi Airbus Helicopters.
Production on the AStar could begin as early as September. There are currently 280 employees working at the Columbus plant.