Angered by what it claims is a lack of local political support for its industrial activities in the US state of Texas and of being treated as "a second-class citizen", Eurocopter has decided to focus on its new plant in Columbus, Mississippi. The EADS unit is warning it may close its Texas plant altogether.

Eurocopter chief executive Jean-François Bigay claims that because Texas is also the home of Bell Helicopters, local political support is biased in favour of the US manufacturer. "Whenever we have been in competition with Bell, the local authorities always back them and although we are willing to be good US citizens we are fed up with being treated like second-class citizens," says Bigay.

He says Mississippi "seems interested and willing to support us," so the company, now the leading helicopter manufacturer in the world with a 47% market share, will open a plant employing around 100 people.

The plant in Texas, which has a workforce of around 300 people, currently does completion work on helicopters delivered green from Europe and is a maintenance and training centre.

Source: Flight International