On the first aircraft to be produced in Mobile – an A321 – a ceremonial placard was placed with the message: “This aircraft proudly made in the U.S.A. by the worldwide team from Airbus”
Mobile, Alabama – 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 Sept. 14, 2015, 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 – 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.”
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 Airbus U.S. manufacturing facility strengthens Airbus’ position 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.”
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.
“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 the ceremony by placing a special decal on the tail cone for the first aircraft to enter final assembly in Mobile that read: “This aircraft proudly made in the U.S.A. by the worldwide team from Airbus.”
Showcasing the advanced pace of activity at the site just over three years after the decision to create it was announced, the 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.
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.