CONNECTING AIRBUS TO AMERICANS
Airbus has had a North American presence since the late 1970s, but it was not until 1988 that the European manufacturer started to achieve a significant market share in the United States and Canada. With the arrival of the A320 family of fly-by-wire aircraft, the Airbus presence in North America was solidified. Yet Airbus faced unique challenges and perceptions from the public, as well as political leaders, as a European company which manufactured aircraft outside the U.S.
In 2012, Airbus took a bold step to literally put the “Made in the USA” stamp on its aircraft by opening its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Mobile, AL. Xenophon helped announce the opening of the facility which showcased Airbus efforts to provide hundreds of jobs to people in the Gulf Coast region. The story was a key piece of a larger campaign to blunt criticism from supporters of the company’s primary competitor’s and significantly shifted public opinion in favor of the aircraft manufacturer.