Airbus (Toulouse, France) reported on April 8 that its manufacturing in the United States advanced another step closer to reality in Mobile, Ala., as construction of the company’s A320 Family Assembly Line officially began.
The new assembly line, which is the company’s first U.S.-based production facility, will be located at the Mobile Brookley Aeroplex and will facilitate assembly of A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. Major construction of the facility will begin this summer. Aircraft assembly is planned to begin in 2015, with first delivery of a Mobile-assembled aircraft in 2016. At full production, the assembly line and associated facilities would produce up to four aircraft a month and employ as many as 1,000 high-skilled workers.
During a groundbreaking ceremony at the Mobile Brookley Aeroplex, Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Brégier acknowledged the significance of the U.S. facility to Airbus’ global growth.
“Building an A320 Family Assembly Line in Mobile is truly groundbreaking for Airbus. Our customers need more aircraft that cut fuel burn, emissions and operating costs. With this assembly line we will be able to meet our customers’ needs at their doorstep, in addition to the worldwide demand for these efficient aircraft. When this assembly line opens, we will be the only one to assemble aircraft in Asia, the Americas and Europe.”
EADS CEO Tom Enders helped lead the celebrations and welcomed more than 1,000 attendees including many EADS and other Airbus executives, state and national dignitaries, industry officials and the local community.
Airbus already has a strong and growing presence in Alabama and throughout the United States. In Alabama, the company operates an Engineering Center in Mobile – also located at Brookley Aeroplex – which employs more than 200 engineers and support staff. In addition, Airbus’ operates an even larger Engineering Center in Wichita, Kan., an aircraft Spares Center in Ashburn, Va.; a Training Center in Miami, Fla., and a regulatory and government liaison office in Washington, D.C. The company’s headquarters for the Americas is located in Herndon, Va. Airbus’ U.S.-based air traffic management subsidiary, Metron Aviation, is located in Chantilly, Va. All together, Airbus’ U.S. facilities employ more than 1,000 people.