Thursday, May 05, 2016

Loudoun County board approves incentive package to keep Airbus facility in Ashburn

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $200,000 incentive package to Airbus Americas aimed at retaining the company’s spare parts facility in Ashburn.

The incentive package is comprised of a $185,000 cash grant from the county’s $1.1 million Commercial Business Incentive Fund, with another $15,000 coming from a wavier of permit fees. The measure passed Wednesday by a 9-0 vote.

One member of the Loundoun County Board of Supervisors called a $200,000 incentive package aimed at keeping Airbus Americas’ spare parts facility in Ashburn “a no-brainer."

In February, the U.S. arm of the European aerospace company announced that it chose its Airbus Americas Customer Service Logistics Center in Ashburn to consolidate the operations of Satair Group, a 100 percent wholly-owned subsidiary of the company. A site in Atlanta was the other option.

“This was not a given that this facility was going to consolidate in Loudoun” said Matthew Letourneau, who represents the Dulles district on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, at a meeting Wednesday. He called approval of the grant "pretty much a no-brainer.”

The Airbus facilities in Ashburn house aircraft parts, “from a small bolt to a portion of the engine or the wing,” a company spokeswoman told me recently. From that facility, Satair handles customer service calls and processes online orders and deliveries of small airplane parts.

The facility employs 80 workers, while 326 Airbus employs work in the Greater Washington area.

In November 2015, the facilities began adding parts for the company's newest wide-body aircraft, the A350 XWB, to its massive 100,000 spare-part inventory.

Last month, Airbus announced it would invest $1 million in the facilities to expand the footprint and build on the technologies used in the warehouse. A lot of Airbus technology efforts since 1991 have involved incorporating green initiatives into the infrastructure, including motorized, movable racks and LED lighting.

The county’s economic development team believes the county will realize a return on investment from the incentive package within three years.

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