Airbus and the newest members of its global team are “getting to work… together” – as the company officially inaugurated its first U.S. manufacturing facility: an A320 Family final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama.
It was a red, white and blue theme today as the company welcomed the world inside the main hangar of its new U.S. Manufacturing Facility – where two A321 jetliners have entered final assembly at the site – with a ceremony that highlighted the importance of the plant to Airbus’ global presence, the local community and the U.S.
“Today is a moment of pride for all Airbus people – everywhere,” Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Fabrice Brégier told a standing-room-only crowd during the inauguration ceremony. “What Airbus is doing here in Mobile is a successful extension of what we seek to do everywhere: design and make great aircraft to serve people.”
Let’s get to work… together!
Key state, federal and local officials and top Airbus and Airbus Group management reinforced the strong relationship between Airbus and Mobile in speeches at the ceremony, while Airbus’ U.S. customers, suppliers, representatives from the Mobile community, and Airbus employees from around the world provided commentary through pre-recorded video vignettes – all with the theme: “Let’s get to work… together!”
Located on the grounds of the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, the formal opening of the game-changing Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility brings the first new manufacturer of large commercial aircraft to the U.S. in some four decades and strengthens Airbus’ position as a global leader, which remains close to its worldwide customer base.
“We are just getting started,” explained Tom Enders, Chief Executive Officer of the company’s Airbus Group parent corporation. “Let’s bring the best products to the world’s biggest market. Let’s work together. Let’s win by combining talent and tenacity.”
Strengthening Airbus’ global production network
Airbus’ first U.S. manufacturing site – which is capable of producing A319, A320 and A321 jetliners – is the latest addition to its global production network. It joins other modern facilities in Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany and Tianjin, China that together manufacture the company’s complete product line of market-leading single-aisle and widebody aircraft – supported by a supply chain of industrial partners around the world.
To date, the new Mobile, Alabama facility employs around 260 directly-hired employees in production roles – most of whom come from the local Alabama and U.S. Gulf Coast region – and are helping spread Airbus’ passion to create new and better ways to fly.
“I can speak for all Airbus employees here in Mobile when I say that we are so proud to be a part of this global Airbus team,” said Ryane Dedeaux, an employee at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility. “We cannot wait to get to work. It’s time to begin building the best aircraft in the world and begin doing it right here in Mobile, Alabama.”
Further highlighting Mobile’s place on team Airbus, Dedeaux and Brégier concluded today’s ceremony by placing a special decal on the tail cone for the first aircraft to enter final assembly in Mobile, which read: “This aircraft proudly made in the U.S.A. by the worldwide team from Airbus.”
Assembling the world’s best-selling aircraft family
Showcasing the advanced pace of activity at the site just over three years after the decision to create it was announced, today’s inauguration ceremony took place next to two A321ceo (current engine option) aircraft in production at the site, which are the first two to enter final assembly. The first jetliner is scheduled to be provided to U.S.-based JetBlue in the second quarter of 2016, a milestone that will subsequently be followed by the second aircraft’s delivery to American Airlines.
Overall, 49 of the first 50 aircraft manufactured in Mobile will be A321s, emphasizing a growing market trend toward the A320 Family’s longest-fuselage variant, which offers airline customers the best seat-mile costs of any single-aisle aircraft and will be able to seat up to 240 passengers in its new engine option (NEO) version.
At home in Mobile
At full production, Airbus’ $600-million Mobile, Alabama manufacturing facility will produce between 40 and 50 A320 Family aircraft per year, while sustaining the equivalent of some 3,700 full-time jobs in the region with an estimated annual contribution of $400 million to the state’s output.
“Airbus and Alabama share the same values and the same vision: hard work, optimism, excitement about the future, we are dedicated to quality, and we take pride in what we can accomplish,” said the state’s Governor Robert Bentley.
• For more on the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility’s inauguration, see the press release