The new A320 Family final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama will expand on an already-successful Airbus presence at the city’s Brookley Aeroplex facility – where a growing company team has been providing hands-on engineering support for the A380, A330 and A350 XWB programs.
This operation, called the Mobile Engineering Center, was established in 2007 with approximately 35 employees, and has increased to a staff that totals 220 persons today. Its activities are focused on new product development work for the next-generation A350 XWB jetliner; customization engineering for the in-production A330 and A380; as well as cabin upgrade reconfiguration of delivered, in-service aircraft.
“We have a solid workload to take us well into the future, with a skilled and diverse workforce that provides benefits to both Airbus and the community in Mobile,” explained David Trent, the Airbus Mobile Engineering Center’s site director. “We are proudly building up a first generation of skilled aerospace engineers in the area, and a number of our employees already have been with the center for five years or more.”
The facility’s new product development activity involves full engineering responsibility for lavatories on Airbus’ A350 XWB – the company’s next-generation jetliner currently in development. Customization engineering assignments at the Mobile center respond to airline customer-specified requirements for staircases that link the A380’s two passenger cabin decks, along with wiring assignments in A330 cabins. Its cabin upgrade services span the Airbus product line and are to provide for the worldwide customer base.
Trent said Airbus is recognized as a good corporate citizen in the region, with such activities as support for the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center with two $50,000 grants to fund science, technology, engineering and mathematics programming for young students.
The Airbus Mobile Engineering Center also was a kickoff sponsor of the “Ready When the Time Comes” program for the American Red Cross, Gulf Coast Chapter, which trains employees as disaster volunteers to serve in emergencies. Airbus personnel were trained to perform damage assessments after natural or man-made disasters – with employees already demonstrating their capabilities when dispatched to the scene of tornados in two Alabama cities last year.