Airbus has begun manufacturing A220 aircraft at its Alabama production facility, a key milestone in the company’s growth plans that will see it add a second assembly line and hire more than 400 new workers at its Mobile facility.
The first team of A220 production workers began work at Airbus’ Mobile production facility following their recent return from on-the-job training in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, where the A220 program and primary final assembly line are located.
“The expansion of our commercial aircraft production in Mobile to a second product line—with 400 additional jobs to support it—further solidifies Airbus’ standing as a truly global aircraft manufacturer, and confirms without a doubt that Airbus is an important part of America’s manufacturing landscape,” said Airbus Americas chairman and CEO C. Jeffrey Knittel. “With Mobile, and our production network in Asia, Canada and Europe, we have strategically created a worldwide industrial base to better serve our customers.”
Airbus announced plans for the addition of A220 manufacturing in Mobile in October 2017. Construction on the main A220 flowline hangar and other support buildings for the new A220 began at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley industrial complex at the beginning of this year. Work on the project is proceeding rapidly, according to Birmingham-based HPM, the program manager.
Airbus is producing the first few aircraft within some current A320 family buildings and newly-built support hangars. The first U.S.-made A220 — an A220-300 destined for Delta Air Lines — is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2020. By the middle of next decade, the facility will produce between 40 and 50 A220 aircraft per year.
“It’s exciting to see the start of production on the A220 in Mobile,” said Paul Gaskell, President-Airbus U.S. A220 Inc. “The production team has been training alongside their colleagues in Mirabel and have returned ready to put their knowledge to work. We look forward to all of the milestones along the way to a successful delivery to the customer next year.”
Airbus began producing A320 aircraft at its $600 million Alabama manufacturing plant in late 2015. To date, the company has delivered more than 130 aircraft to eight different airlines, with Delta claiming the most, with 52 deliveries.
More than 800 people are now working at the Airbus assembly line. The company employs an additional 220 at an engineering center in Mobile and has another 70 or so Space and Defense employees in the city, pushing its total employment in Alabama to around 1,100. More hiring is under way, with assistance from AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency.
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