In a major strategic announcement today, Airbus said it will establish a manufacturing facility in the United States to assemble and deliver A320 family of aircraft.
Located at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Alabama, it will be the company's first US-based production facility. Airbus says 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 US 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,'' said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO at the announcement today in Mobile. "Mobile is now becoming part of Airbus' global production network, joining our successful and growing assembly lines in Hamburg, Toulouse and Tianjin.
Airbus' assembly line in Mobile will add to existing production capabilities by other EADS companies in the United States. For instance EADS group firm American Eurocopter manufactures helicopters at facilities in Columbus, Mississippi and Grand Prairie, Texas, while Cassidian Communications has an assembly plant in Temecula, California.
Airbus already has a strong and growing presence in Alabama and elseqhere in the US. In Alabama, the company operates an engineering centre 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 US Coast Guard aircraft.