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Some aircraft on the line in Mobile (Photo: Airbus)

Airbus Celebrates Five Years in Mobile, Ala.

Airbus celebrated five years of operation at its single-aisle production facility in Mobile, Ala. on Monday. The company made Mobile its first U.S.-based manufacturing plant in 2015 with 250 employees and the goal of bringing the production of its most popular narrow body jet, the A320 family, closer to its U.S. customers. Not only has Airbus produced nearly 200 A320 aircraft for eight customers – which have carried 60 million passengers across 500 million miles – at the plant, but it has also expanded manufacturing in Mobile to its newer A220 and increased the plant’s employee count to over 1,000.

The $600 million facility wasn’t just a win for Airbus but also for the state of Alabama. The new plant created thousands of jobs in the state, pays dividends to local and state governments and makes Alabama a leader in the aerospace industry. Airbus says it has doubled its footprint in Mobile by building new facilities – constructed mostly by local companies – and has supported over 15,000 jobs. Furthermore, a study done by the University of South Alabama says that over the past five years, the company’s economic impact throughout Alabama has totaled $1.2 billion.

“When we announced our intent to build A320 Family aircraft in the United States, and to locate that facility in Mobile, Alabama, we also stated our intent to be a good neighbor, to create jobs and opportunities and to help strengthen the U.S. aerospace industry. Five years later, we have become a major economic driver in creating an aerospace hub on the Gulf Coast,” Airbus Americas CEO and President C. Jeffrey Knittel said in a statement.

“The achievements of the Airbus US Manufacturing team over these past five years are just the beginning. We are proud to call Mobile our American aircraft manufacturing home, and we look forward to many more years of partnership with the community, our customers and suppliers,” Knittel continued

A220 Expansion

In 2017, Airbus expanded its production in Mobile to include its A220 Family aircraft, making it the second A220 facility in North America aside from the primary plant in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada. A new 270,000-square-foot plant was constructed adjacent to the A320 assembly building for A220-100 and A220-300 jets. The plant houses five stations for major component assembly A220 aircraft. According to the manufacturer, the first A220 built at the plant is near completion. The jet will be delivered to Delta Air Lines very soon.

“The expansion of our commercial aircraft production in Mobile – from the A320 Family to the A220 – further solidifies Airbus’ standing as a truly global aircraft manufacturer, and confirms that Airbus remains an important part of the American manufacturing landscape,” said Paul Gaskell, president of A220 USA and head of the A220 program in Mobile, in 2017.

Impact of COVID-19

Although the Coronavirus has plagued the aerospace industry since March, Airbus has made it clear that it does not plan on shutting down its Mobile facility.

Airbus spokesperson Kristi Tucker explained, “We have no intention of closing Mobile – it has been and remains a strategic part of Airbus’ global production network.”

Greg Canfield, Alabama’s Commerce Secretary, added, “We are committed to continue building a world-class aerospace cluster in Alabama. There are very few large aircraft plants in the world, and we are fortunate to have one in Mobile.”

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