Posted on: 25 April 2016 by Mark Howells
The entire team of employees at Airbus’s US Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama, has turned out to witness the first ever delivery of an aircraft from their assembly line, an A321ceo, to JetBlue Airways.
“I am immensely proud to be here to participate in this first delivery from Mobile,” commented John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer–customers. “Going from breaking ground on this facility three years ago to handing over the first Alabama-produced A321 today is an amazing accomplishment. It’s a testament to how well executed this project was and how strong the teamwork has been here in Mobile and throughout Airbus. The Airbus US Manufacturing Facility has brought together all the best aspects of our other assembly lines around the world, and it shows how Airbus people work hand in hand with our partners to deliver great aircraft to our customers.”
Airbus announced its commitment to build a single-aisle assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, in 2012, and less than one year later, broke ground on the $600 million facility. The ceremonial inauguration of the plant came in September 2015. The aircraft delivered had its successful first flight on 21 March 2016.
In addition to the now-delivered JetBlue A321, there are currently nine other A320 family aircraft in production at the facility. Airbus expects to deliver four aircraft per month from the Mobile plant by the end of 2017. The initial deliveries will all be A320 family aircraft with the Current Engine Option (CEO), but will begin transitioning to New Engine Option (NEO) derivatives in late 2017.
In addition to hundreds of new Airbus jobs the project has brought to the local community, the Mobile area has seen many Airbus suppliers open new facilities in the region, providing even more employment and a parallel boost to the local economy. Airbus says it is proud to boast that 87% of its new employees are from the Gulf Coast region, with nearly one third being US military veterans.