The talk of the 2012 Farnborough International Airshow is Airbus’ milestone decision to create a U.S. final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama for its best-selling A320 Family jetliners – a strategy that was announced last week.
This game-changing move was being celebrated even before the biennial U.K. air show began, as Airbus was the centre of attention at a London reception hosted by the Aerospace Alliance – an organisation that promotes aviation industry growth in the southern American states of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana.
The gathering, held 8 July on the eve of the air show’s opening, brought together more than 400 aviation industry executives, 100 southeastern U.S. business and government leaders and other guests. Representatives of each state praised the Airbus decision, and underscored the region’s commitment to help make the new single-aisle jetliner final assembly line a success.
“We produce the best cars, the best rockets, the best ships…and now we’re going to produce the best airplanes together with Airbus,” Alabama Governor Robert Bentley told a packed audience at London’s famous Whitehall Palace Banqueting Hall.
The Aerospace Alliance’s mission is to establish the U.S. Gulf Coast as a leading aerospace and aviation corridor by advocating for policies and programmes that support economic development and employment in the region. Currently, over 313,000 people work for aerospace or defence companies within these four states – including the existing operations of Airbus and its EADS parent company in Alabama and Mississippi.
Airbus announced on 2 July that it will begin construction of the new final assembly line at Alabama’s Brookley Aeroplex in the summer of 2013, bringing A320 Family production directly to the world’s largest single-aisle aircraft market: the United States. This assembly line and the associated facilities will employ as many as 1,000 high-skilled workers, while further expanding Airbus’ global footprint. The build-up of A320 Family jetliners is planned to start in 2015, with deliveries beginning in 2016.