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March 15, 2007

Alabama firm will make fuselage for Honda jet

An Alabama company will prodce the fuselage for the new jet made by Honda in North Carolina, Honda said this morning.

GKN Aerospace, which has a plant in Tallassee that performs work for companies such as Airbus, Bombardier and Lockheed Martin, was one of three suppliers announced today by Honda Aircraft Co., the venture set up to build the Japanese company's first commercial jet.

Other suppliers are Garmin International, which will supply avionics, and Avocorp of Canada, which will make portions of the wings.

"The sourcing of these key components from suppliers in the U.S. and Canada is consistent with Honda's philosophy of producing parts close to the customer," said Michimasa Fujino, CEO of Honda Aircraft.

Honda said in July it would build the jet, which is designed to seat eight and get 30-35 better fuel efficiency that comparable planes. The company will produce the jet in Greensboro, N.C.

GKN, which has a 400,000-square-foot facility in Tallassee and a 140,000-square-foot operation in Montgomery, employs hundreds of craftsmen turning out about 2,000 separate components each week for aircraft engine and airframe manufacturers around the world.

The Birmingham News Business Staff