Airbus’ initial engineering centre established in the United States will be moving to a new home – joining a developing innovation hub to help accelerate the application of new ideas and technologies into the company’s market-leading commercial jetliners.
Airbus plans to relocate its Wichita, Kansas-based design and engineering centre from the operation’s current downtown Wichita location to a new facility on Wichita State University's (WSU) Innovation Campus, for which construction is scheduled to begin this year.
The company’s Wichita location was opened in 2002 as Airbus’ first design and engineering facility outside of Europe. Since its start, this operation has expanded from approximately 30 engineers focusing on A380 wing design to some 400 employees today – covering all Airbus commercial aircraft, including significant design work on the next-generation A350 XWB.
“Our presence on the Innovation Campus will help us enhance products and business processes to create value for our customers,” said John O'Leary, the Vice President of Airbus Americas Engineering. “The campus provides an environment that fosters the transition of innovative ideas into real-world uses and value for the company.”
As a resident on the campus, Airbus Engineering will be able to access support infrastructure, including engineering labs, research faculty, conference facilities and educational opportunities, as well as facilitate collaboration with other members of the Innovation Campus.
Construction at the Innovation Campus is scheduled to be completed by October 2016 with Airbus planning to move the engineering centre into its new building – named Partnership I – by January 2017.
Airbus also intends to partner with Wichita State University to take full advantage of the university's applied learning model, which engages students in real-world engineering projects, helps develop critical engineering skills, and provides students with experience, while also boosting Airbus' competitiveness.
The new Wichita location highlights Airbus’ growing presence in the U.S., which includes Airbus Americas’ headquarters in Herndon, Virginia; another engineering center in Mobile, Alabama; an aircraft spares warehouse in Ashburn, Virginia; a training facility in Miami, Florida; and a regulatory and government liaison office in Washington, D.C. – along with the new A320 Family final assembly line taking shape in Mobile, which will build A319, A320 and A321 jetliners beginning this year.