Babrour taveling to Paris

Governors from Mississippi and Alabama are going to Paris to build support for a U.S. military defense contract for a factory proposed in Mobile that would make aerial refueling tanker jets.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told The Associated Press on Friday that he and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley will attend the Paris Air Show and meet with officials from the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. The company is trying to land a $35 billion contract to make the tanker jets for the U.S. Air Force.

“It’s essentially a trade show – all the defense contractors showing off their wares, meeting with each other and meeting with their customers from around the world,” Barbour said in a telephone interview from New York. He plans to be in Paris by Sunday.

EADS proposes building a factory, and Barbour estimated that up to one-third of the jobs could go to Mississippi residents. Thousands of people already commute between Mobile and the Mississippi Gulf Coast for other jobs, including those at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.