Airbus (Toulouse) has formally opened its new Mobile, Alabama narrow body facility. JetBlue Airways will be the first customer to take delivery from the new facility in the second quarter of 2016. American Airlines will be the second. Airbus issued this statement:
In a much-anticipated ceremony on September 14 in Mobile, Alabama, Airbus inaugurated operations at its first ever U.S. Manufacturing Facility. The plant – which assembles the industry-leading family of A319s, A320s and A321s – is officially open for business, with a skilled team of more than 250 Airbus manufacturing employees now at work on the first U.S.-made Airbus aircraft.
Airbus announced plans for the $600 million U.S. Manufacturing Facility in 2012, and construction began at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley the following year. The first U.S.-made Airbus commercial aircraft – an A321 – is scheduled for delivery next spring. By 2018, the facility will produce between 40 and 50 single-aisle aircraft per year. Airbus’ market forecast indicates a demand over the next 20 years (from all manufacturers) for some 4,700 single-aisle aircraft in North America alone.
Fabrice Brégier and members of the new Airbus workforce in Mobile were joined at the inaugural ceremony by Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Senator Jeff Sessions, Congressman Bradley Byrne, and scores of other dignitaries, airline and aerospace executives, and local leaders. The industry- and community-wide event convened under the theme, “Let’s Get to Work – Together!” and culminated in the ceremonial placement of a placard on a component of the first aircraft to be produced in Mobile. The placard reads, “This aircraft proudly made in the U.S.A. by the worldwide team from Airbus.”
The Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility joins several other Airbus and Airbus Group operations across the United States, including for example Airbus engineering offices in Alabama (Mobile) and Kansas (Wichita); an Airbus training centre in Florida (Miami); Airbus Defence & Space Military Aircraft facility in Alabama (Mobile); Airbus Helicopters factories and operations in Mississippi (Columbus) and Texas (Grand Prairie); and aircraft spares facilities in Georgia (Atlanta), Florida (Miami) and Virginia (Ashburn). The U.S. headquarters of Airbus, Airbus Defence & Space, and Airbus Group are located in Herndon, Virginia, while Airbus’ Latin America headquarters is located in Miami. Airbus and Airbus Group are major customers of other U.S. aerospace companies as well, having purchased $16.5 billion of components and materials from American suppliers last year alone.
The establishment of the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility doubles the number of manufacturers of large commercial aircraft in the United States, creating jobs, expanding skills, and establishing a new aerospace centre of competence on the U.S. Gulf Coast. In addition to the new Alabama manufacturing site, Airbus assembles commercial aircraft at modern facilities in Hamburg (Germany), Tianjin (China) and Toulouse (France).