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Tunisia: Airbus to build plant due to be operational in 2010

Tunisia and Aerolia, a branch of Airbus (EADS), signed on Wednesday an agreement relative to the construction of a plant south of Tunis, in the industrial zone of El Mghira. The plant will become operational mid 2010 and will employ some 1500 qualified personnel, said Mr Christian Cornille, the company’s president during a press conference in Tunis on Wednesday.
The agreement which was signed the same day between Mr Nouri Jouini, the Minister of Development and International Cooperation and Mr Christian Cornille, in presence of Mr Fabrice Breguier, Board Chairman of Aerolia, follows 18 months of intensive groundwork preparations.
The project which is estimated at 60 million Euros, will also involve sub-contracting partners, essentially from France. A training program is also part of the agreement between Tunisia and the plane maker, it was announced.
Aerolia, a French leader in the sector of aero structures, conceives and builds all of the front segments of Airbus planes.
The plant which will sprawl over 20 hectares, with 10 hectares in reserve from potential extension, will cover 60,000 square metres. Sheet metal works, mechanical parts and composites will be made in Tunisia.
Among the reasons which prompted Aerolia to build their 4 th plant in Tunisia after those of Meaulte, St Nazaire and Toulouse in France, are the high degree of competence of Tunisian engineers, the proximity to Europe, the logistic advantage of a nearby harbor and the full support from the Tunisian government, said Mr Cornille.
He also remarked that Aerolia’s Tunisia plant is part and parcel of the company’s industrial network just as the French based plants, adding that he hoped the plant would increase the company’s competitiveness.
To a question relative as to how Airbus and its subsidiary Aerolia were dealing with the current economic downturn, Mr Breguier said that the plane industry “was used to turbulences” and that he hoped that by 2010, the global effects of the crisis will be less felt.
He added that the aero sector is witnessing a growth of 5% per year and that Airbus had orders for some 3700 planes throughout the world that it intends to honor.


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