Airbus to build plant in Tunisia


Aerolia, a branch of Airbus, has signed an agreement with the government of Tunisia for the construction of a plant south of the capital Tunis, to become operational by next year, the Tunisia Online news agency reported.

The plant will employ some 1,500 qualified personnel, said Christian Cornille, the company’s president, during a press conference.

The project, which is estimated at €60 million, will involve sub-contract partners, mainly from France.

Aerolia is a French leader in the sector of aero structures, and is responsible for the construction of all the front segments of Airbus planes.

Analysts are estimating that due to the economic crisis, aircraft orders could decline by more than 50 percent, according to a report by Forbes. A few days ago, the French government announced it would provide a package of aid amounting to $6.5 billion in state guarantees to help Airbus customers get financing for their purchases.

The Tunisian deal has been in preparation for the last 18 months, before the economic crisis occurred. According to Cornille, the reasons that prompted the company to build the plant in Tunisia were the high degree of competence of Tunisian engineers, the proximity to Europe, the logistic advantage of a nearby harbor, and the full support of the Tunisian government.

Cornille downplayed the effects of the economic crisis on his company, stating he hoped that by 2010 they would be “less felt.” He added further that Airbus had orders for some 3,700 planes throughout the world that it intended to honor.