The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 20, 2013

Officials wooing Boeing to build aircraft plant in Huntsville

By Budd McLaughlin
bud@athensnews-courier.com

ATHENS —

Huntsville, home to much of Boeing’s missile and aerospace work, is being considered for the company’s aircraft business.

And, if Huntsville is selected, Athens-Limestone County could benefit.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said his city is one of several under consideration for a 777x aircraft assembly plant, which would bring thousands of jobs to the area.

Battle, Gov. Robert Bentley and economic developers met Tuesday in Birmingham with representatives of the aircraft manufacturer.

"They don't need to look at any other state," Bentley said in an Associated Press story. "Alabama is the state they need to look at most."

Boeing has a facility at Huntsville International Airport and there is room on the property to build an assembly plant. The airport is just across the county line in Madison County.

“I hope they’re going to consider us,” said Tom Hill, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Authority. “Boeing has a huge presence and we’re (Limestone County officials) available to help however we can.”

Boeing is considering building the new jet elsewhere after a proposed contract was voted down by members of the machinists union last week. Company officials said a decision on a location could come within a few months.

State Rep. Dan Williams said incentives the Legislature approved the past couple years by the Legislature could help attract the plant to this area.

“We passed some incentives for companies to come to Alabama,” said Williams, R-Athens. “I hope they would use them.”