Final Assembly Facility For The Single-Aisle Airliners To Open In The U.S.
In what it billed as a major strategic announcement Monday, which was maybe one of the worst-kept secrets in aviation last month, Airbus said it will establish a manufacturing facility in the United States to assemble and deliver A320 Family aircraft. Located at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Alabama, it will be the company’s first U.S.-based production facility. Airbus stressed that the assembly line, which will create jobs and strengthen the aerospace industry, is part of its strategy to enhance Airbus’ global competitiveness by meeting the growing needs of its customers in the United States and elsewhere.
The facility in Alabama will assemble the industry-leading family of A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. The company said construction of the assembly line will begin in summer 2013. Aircraft assembly is planned to start in 2015, with first deliveries from the Mobile facility beginning in 2016. Airbus anticipates the facility will produce between 40 and 50 aircraft per year by 2018.
“The time is right for Airbus to expand in America,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President & CEO at the announcement Monday in Mobile. “The U.S. is the largest single-aisle aircraft market in the world – with a projected need for 4,600 aircraft over the next 20 years - and this assembly line brings us closer to our customers. Mobile is now becoming part of Airbus’ global production network, joining our successful and growing assembly lines in Hamburg, Toulouse and Tianjin.
“When Airbus aircraft take to the skies, our pride and workmanship will soar along with them,” Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said. “We owe thanks to so many people who helped make this effort a success. This project will create 1,000 stable, well-paying jobs that the people of this area need and deserve. Alabama has the best workforce you’ll find anywhere in the U.S. Airbus has recognized all that this state can offer expanding industries, and the company is making a significant new investment in Alabama. Airbus and its parent company, EADS, have been great citizens of Alabama for years now, and we are excited to build on our wonderful relationship.”
Airbus already has a strong and growing presence in Alabama and throughout the United States. In Alabama, the company operates an Engineering Center in Mobile – also located at Brookley Aeroplex and employing more than 200 engineers and support staff – as well as an Airbus Military customer services operation supporting U.S. Coast Guard aircraft. In addition, Airbus operates an Engineering Center in Wichita, Kansas; an aircraft Spares Center in Ashburn, Virginia; a Training Center in Miami, Florida, and a regulatory and government liaison office in Washington, D.C. Subsidiary Metron Aviation, a leading provider of advanced Air Traffic Management (ATM) products and services, is based in Dulles, Virginia. Airbus’ headquarters for the Americas are located in Herndon, Virginia. All together, Airbus’ U.S. facilities currently employ more than 1,000 people.
The company said that the new Mobile assembly line, together with associated functions, should create as many as 1,000 new high-skilled jobs.
Airbus’ assembly line in Mobile will add to existing production capabilities by other EADS companies in the United States. For example, American Eurocopter manufactures helicopters at facilities in Columbus, MS, and Grand Prairie, TX, while Cassidian Communications has an assembly plant in Temecula, CA.