European aircraft maker Airbus said Friday it plans to double its annual spending with U.S. companies to some $24 billion in the coming years and would seek new supplier partnerships in Southern California.

The announcement marked a new step in the U.S. market, after Airbus announced in July plans to build its first aircraft assembly plant in the country in Mobile, Alabama, in home-turf competition with U.S. rival Boeing (IW 500/16).

Backed by a strong global order backlog of more than 4,400 aircraft and growing future demand, "Airbus plans to double its current $12 billion annual spending with U.S. manufacturers in the coming years," the company said in a statement.

Airbus said it currently spends more than $1 billion in the Southern California region, and that last year's spending went to more than 400 manufacturers and service suppliers in more than 40 U.S. states.

The European aircraft manufacturer, based in Toulouse, France, highlighted that its U.S. spending was equal to supporting 210,000 American jobs, calculated by a U.S. Commerce Department formula.

"Hundreds of American companies, with hundreds of thousands of jobs, are supported through Airbus's partnership with the U.S., and with our commitment to expand, we believe those numbers will increase in the coming years," said Airbus Americas chairman Allan McArtor.

McArtor made the announcement at an educational summit in Los Angeles attended by 100 local manufacturers and focused on attracting new supplier companies for Airbus, said Airbus, a unit of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company.

"This effort by Airbus to increase partnerships with local manufacturers is a win for local manufacturers, a win for job seekers and a win for the aerospace industry," said Gary Toebben, head of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

"The potential growth of the aviation industry brings great hope to Southern California at a critical time for the region, as we slowly recover from the economic downturn," Toebben said.

In July, Airbus announced a new $600 million assembly plant, to be built in the southern port city of Mobile, Alabama on the Gulf of Mexico, to produce its popular A320 passenger planes.

Airbus estimates more than 4,000 new single-aisle aircraft will be needed in the United States over the next 20 years and that the new U.S. plant could more than double its current roughly 20% share of the huge U.S. aircraft market.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012