- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - The first Airbus Helicopters AS350 AStar helicopter completely assembled in the U.S. has received airworthiness certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The AS350 B3e rolled off the Airbus Helicopters Inc. final assembly line in Columbus, Mississippi, at the end of December.

Airbus officials say in a news release that the Columbus plant is set up to produce 30 AStars in 2015 and 60 or more in 2016 and beyond. The AStar is used by law enforcement agencies, air medical service providers and others.

Airbus Helicopters in 2013 set up the AS350 assembly line in Columbus. The production line is patterned after the one in Marignane, France.

Twenty employees from Columbus received training in Marignane.

Airbus Helicopters Inc. opened the Mississippi plant in 2005. The plant employs about 250 workers.

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