Mobile city in Alabama (US) is celebrating five years of production of both the A220 and A320 models of Airbus. Mobile is Airbus’ first US-based facility for commercial aircraft manufacturing. From an initial workforce of 250 staff producing A320 Family aircraft, this facility has grown to 1,000 employees manufacturing both the A220 and A320 aircraft families. Eight customers have bought more than 180 A320 Family aircraft from this factory to date. These two types of aircraft have combined flown 500 million miles and have ferried more than 60 million passengers.
The Mobile manufacturing unit of Airbus signifies that Airbus is a truly global aircraft company and secondly that it is also an American manufacturer. With this facility, Airbus has strengthened its global industrial base network in America along with Europe and Asia. Airbus is thus closer to America which is the largest single-aisle market in the world and also to its key supplier partners and customers based in US.
“When we announced our intent to build A320 Family aircraft in the United States, and to locate that facility in Mobile, Alabama, we also stated our intent to be a good neighbour, to create jobs and opportunities, and to help strengthen the US aerospace industry. Five years later, we have become a major economic driver in creating an aerospace hub on the Gulf Coast,” said C Jeffrey Knittel, President and CEO of Airbus Americas.
When it announced the decision to introduce a second aircraft programme to the Mobile site, the journey of Airbus’ investment in Mobile took a major stride in October 2017. In addition to the A320 plant, the decision to build a parallel assembly line for the A220 family aircraft complemented A220’s primary assembly site in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada. The introduction of the A220 assembly line in Mobile was representative of the trust and faith Airbus reposed in Mobile and its workforce.
In its final stages of manufacture for Delta Airlines, the first US-built A220 will roll-out in the very near future. The Mobile site comprised of 116 acres before the expansion of the A320 facilities and the introduction of the A220 assembly line. Today, 70-acres of additional real-estate have been added by Airbus to the Mobile site. These include flight-line hangars (four bays) which accommodate the two new final phase and for four new aircraft parking spaces there is an enlarged delivery centre.
In addition, there is the ‘flow-line’ final assembly line (FAL) building and a pre-transshipment hangar. Tom Enders, one of the company’s former leaders, is likely to get the honour of the delivery centre named after him. During his tenure as CEO of Airbus, Enders drove and supported the establishment of a new Airbus aircraft factory in the US.
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