In a much-anticipated ceremony in Mobile, Alabama, Airbus has inaugurated operations at its first ever US manufacturing facility.
The plant – which assembles the industry-leading family of A319s, A320s and A321s – is officially open for business, with a skilled team of more than 250 Airbus manufacturing employees now at work on the first US-made Airbus aircraft.
“Our commercial aircraft production in Mobile signifies two things: that Airbus has become the first truly global aircraft manufacturer, and that Airbus is now also a truly American manufacturer,” said Airbus president Fabrice Brégier.
“With the addition of our US facility to our production network in Europe and Asia, we have strategically expanded our worldwide industrial base.
“The Airbus US manufacturing facility is an important step forward in Airbus’ strategy, strengthening our position as a leader and competitor in all of our key markets,” Brégier continued.
“It enables us to grow our already significant presence in America – the largest single-aisle aircraft market in the world – and to be closer to our US customers and key supplier partners.
Airbus announced plans for the $600 million US facility in 2012, and construction began at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley the following year.
The first US-made Airbus commercial aircraft – an A321 – is scheduled for delivery next spring.
By 2018, the facility will produce between 40 and 50 single-aisle aircraft per year.
Airbus’ market forecast indicates a demand over the next 20 years (from all manufacturers) for some 4,700 single-aisle aircraft in North America alone.
The establishment of the Airbus US manufacturing facility doubles the number of manufacturers of large commercial aircraft in the United States, creating jobs, expanding skills, and establishing a new aerospace centre of competence on the US Gulf Coast.