COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch
Mike Spears, manager of Airbus Columbus, is passing the torch to another Airbus veteran, German-born Johannes Dienemann.
“Now I get the opportunity to spend my time in Columbus and I’m excited about that,” Dienemann said. “It’s exciting what’s happening here and to be a part of it.” He went on to speak of their mission here and of the great workforce from the local community: “We have an almost endless spectrum of work . . . We build some helicopters from scratch, some from parts and pieces, some fully assembled that we do completion work on and maintenance, so it’s a very diverse type of work. We have people in our shops that make wire harnesses, assemble engines, assemble gear boxes, paint on all those different aircraft. We have 60 to 70 aircraft come through here every year. So we have to make sure we cross-train our people for our production lines and completion center. That’s a tribute to the skill and talent of our workforce.”
Spears was part of a big push that has borne fruit over the last few years to revitalize production of the Lakota helicopters for the military, which has gone on to become a great success for the facility, and which makes up a large chunk of what they do there: “When I first got here eight years ago, the Army was talking about winding the Lakota down, so we realized we had to do something to stabilize what we were doing . . . While we had always done some maintenance work on the Lakotas for the Army, we’ve doubled, maybe tripled our maintenance work. So now we have two assembly lines, the completion center and maintenance going on.”
Airbus employs 270 people at their local facility, where they work on a good half a dozen different types of the company’s 15 unique aircraft.
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