Like the jetliners it will one day produce, Airbus’ new U.S. A320 Family final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama is preparing for “takeoff,” with foundation and ground-level work now setting the stage for this facility to rise from the ground.
Approximately 85 per cent of the more than 2,100 pilings of the final assembly line hangar and service building at the new Brookley Aeroplex site have been driven into the earth, providing a foundation that ensures the buildings and hangars will be strong and resistant – capable of withstanding conditions that include hurricane-strength winds. Following the completion of this activity, steelwork is planned to begin next month – during which the buildings’ frame, skin and roof will be constructed.
“That’s when we will see this impressive new facility start to reach to the sky,” said Paul Gaskell, Airbus’ Deputy Project Leader and Head of the Project Management Office.
In another construction milestone at Brookley Aeroplex, an 84-inch-diameter rainwater outflow drain – which is to carry away excess water gathered at the site, including from its new taxiways and ramp areas – was completed this month.
Almost half of the construction and design contracts have been placed to date, involving many local companies selected by the Alabama-based Hoar Program Management – which is overseeing the construction for Airbus. The remaining contracts for internal outfitting of buildings, power systems, infrastructure, associated structures, landscaping and other tasks will be awarded by early next year.
For its latest A320 Family final assembly line, Airbus is voluntarily adhering to LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards that lower the facility’s environmental impact throughout its lifecycle. As an example of the steps to meet LEED compliance, material from a previously-existing taxiway currently under dismantlement at the Brookley Aeroplex airport site is being broken up for reuse at the new Airbus facility.
The Mobile final assembly line will become Airbus’ fourth location worldwide where the popular A320 single-aisle family jetliners are built. It is to join operations at Toulouse, France and Hamburg, Germany in Europe, as well as Tianjin, China.
At full production rate, the U.S. site will employ as many as 1,000 high-skilled workers at the assembly line and associated facilities.