In a festive American football-themed ceremony held today, Airbus marked the official handover of its first A320 Family aircraft produced at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama.
Appropriately, the no. 1 aircraft was delivered to U.S.-based JetBlue – a milestone that underscored the strong global “team” behind Airbus’ position as a leading aircraft manufacturer that remains close to its customer base around the world.
JetBlue operates a predominately Airbus fleet, including 130 A320s and 26 A321s. The carrier designated its milestone U.S.-built A321 “BluesMobile” – which combines its tradition of naming aircraft with the word “blue” and a recognition for this single-aisle jetliner’s production in Mobile, Alabama.
“It’s been an honour to be here with Airbus throughout the process, from the announcement of the Mobile facility to its inauguration,” said JetBlue’s CEO Robin Hayes. “Now, BluesMobile is part of Airbus’ illustrious history. We want to honour the skill, dedication and craftsmanship that Airbus is recognised for around the globe.”
From groundbreaking to first delivery in three years
Today’s landmark delivery to JetBlue comes just over three years since Airbus officially broke ground at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley site in April 2013. Final assembly operations commenced in the summer of 2015, with the no. 1 aircraft performing its maiden flight last month.
In this short span, the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility has already become a significant part of the Airbus worldwide production network. As the newest of four locations producing A320 Family jetliners, Mobile brings together the skills and expertise of Airbus’ other modern final assembly lines in Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; and Tianjin, China.
With this global network, the sun never sets on Airbus – it is currently producing A320 Family jetliners 24 hours a day, supported by a worldwide supply chain of industrial partners.
A team effort
The delivery ceremony was attended by senior management from JetBlue and Airbus, along with local officials from the U.S. Gulf Coast region where Mobile is located. The Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility was decorated in the distinctive American red, white and blue colour scheme, with the event’s theme adding the flavour of America’s team sport of football.
Staff from the Mobile A320 Family Final Assembly Line wore matching football jerseys highlighting their team spirit, while the ceremony included performances from nearby University of South Alabama’s cheerleaders and marching band – two popular traditions from the American sport.
“What you see here is not just an aircraft,” said Daryl Taylor, Vice President and General Manager of the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility. “It’s a symbol of what can happen when a team works together to create something special. And what you see beneath those wings – the people – is Airbus at its best.”
Currently, nine other A320 Family aircraft are in production at the facility in addition to the A321 delivered today to JetBlue. The Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility is expected to produce four aircraft per month by the end of 2017.