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In a much-anticipated ceremony today in Mobile, Alabama, Airbus inaugurated operations at its first ever U.S. 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 U.S.-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 and CEO Fabrice Brégier. “With the addition of our U.S. facility to our production network in Europe and Asia, we have strategically expanded our worldwide industrial base.”
“The Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility is an important step forward in Airbus’ strategy, strengthening our position as a leader and competitor in all of our key markets,” Fabrice 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 U.S. customers and key supplier partners. At the same time, the expanded industrial capacity gives us more flexibility to increase production across Airbus to meet global demand. The U.S. facility is good news for the overall Airbus enterprise, as this greater production capacity creates global growth opportunities across the company and throughout our supply chain.”
Airbus announced plans for the $600 million U.S. Manufacturing Facility in 2012, and construction began at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley the following year. The first U.S.-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.
Fabrice Brégier and members of the new Airbus workforce in Mobile were joined at the inaugural ceremony today by Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Senator Jeff Sessions, Congressman Bradley Byrne, and scores of other dignitaries, airline and aerospace executives, and local leaders. The industry- and community-wide event convened under the theme, “Let’s Get to Work – Together!” and culminated in the ceremonial placement of a placard on a component of the first aircraft to be produced in Mobile. The placard reads, “This aircraft proudly made in the U.S.A. by the worldwide team from Airbus.”
The Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility joins several other Airbus and Airbus Group operations across the United States, including for example Airbus engineering offices in Alabama (Mobile) and Kansas (Wichita); an Airbus training centre in Florida (Miami); Airbus Defence & Space Military Aircraft facility in Alabama (Mobile); Airbus Helicopters factories and operations in Mississippi (Columbus) and Texas (Grand Prairie); and aircraft spares facilities in Georgia (Atlanta), Florida (Miami) and Virginia (Ashburn). The U.S. headquarters of Airbus, Airbus Defence & Space, and Airbus Group are located in Herndon, Virginia, while Airbus’ Latin America headquarters is located in Miami. Airbus and Airbus Group are major customers of other U.S. aerospace companies as well, having purchased $16.5 billion of components and materials from American suppliers last year alone.
The establishment of the Airbus U.S. 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 U.S. Gulf Coast. In addition to the new Alabama manufacturing site, Airbus assembles commercial aircraft at modern facilities in Hamburg (Germany), Tianjin (China) and Toulouse (France).
Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive family of airliners on the market, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats. Airbus champions innovative technologies and offers some of the world’s most fuel efficient and quiet aircraft. Airbus has sold more than 15,900 aircraft to some 400 customers worldwide.