LONDON – Airbus announced today that it marks five years since its presence began at its plant in Mobile, Alabama. The manufacturer has used this plant to offer more connectivity in the United States.

Commenting on the anniversary was C. Jeffrey Knittel, the President and CEO of Airbus Americas who expressed the benefits.

“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 neighbour, to create jobs and opportunities, and to help strengthen the US aerospace industry.”

“Five years later, we have become a major economic driver in creating an aerospace hub on the Gulf Coast,” added the CEO.

Exterior look at the Airbus facility in Mobile, Alabama. Photo: Business Insider

The Numbers

The European manufacturer has produced significant progress since its launch five years ago today. Airbus began its time in Alabama with the production of the A320 Family aircraft before adding the A220 to the line.

Over 1,000 employees of 29 different nationalities work at the plant, of which 26% are military veterans. With that job creation has also come with wage growth, which has increased by $283m in the last five years, with over $1bn in facilities investment into Mobile itself.

In terms of the aircraft side, over 180 A320 Family aircraft have been delivered to eight different customers. This has been valued at US$20bn at list prices. These aircraft have subsequently handled 60 million passengers already across 500 million miles of flying from 400,000+ flights.

Airbus celebrating the 50th aircraft to come off the Mobile production line. Photo: Airbus.

Airbus’ American Manufacturing Home

This month also saw the first Mobile-built A220 for Delta Air Lines (DL) come off the production line as well.

Knittel added to these successes, offering great pride over the amount of work done. “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.”

A look inside the Mobile plant. Photo: Business Insider

A Brief Timeline

The Mobile story started back in July 2012 when Airbus formally announced intentions to build A320 Family aircraft in the United States. By April 2013, workers broke the ground for the first time on the facility site. In just over two years after that, the facility became fully operational and aircraft assembly began.

Seven months later, in April 2016, the first aircraft was delivered, with the lucky customer being JetBlue (B6). December 2017 came along and the target of producing four aircraft per month was reached.

The first Airbus A320 to come off the production line at Mobile, Alabama. Photo: Alabama Chamber of Commerce

100th Aircraft

Exactly, one year after, the 100th aircraft from the Mobile plant was delivered, with Frontier Airlines (F9) receiving that special airframe.

January 2019 came along and the ground-breaking for the A220 Facility began, with it open by May this year, and the first aircraft built by this month.

The A220 Facility in Mobile, Alabama. Photo: Airbus

The Future

For Airbus, COVID-19 has come at quite a difficult time, maybe especially for the Mobile plant itself. As airlines continue to defer deliveries on aircraft, it may beg the question of viability. That being said, with the amount of aircraft in the backlog and customers not choosing to defer just yet, it may not be as widely-affected as many people think.

For the Alabama-based plant, the continued focus will now be on the A220 that will be bound for the likes of Delta and JetBlue over the next few years. Even so, there are plenty of A320 Family aircraft for US-based customers that still need delivering, so the supply will still remain strong unless the industry experiences a further financial downturn in the future.

A JetBlue Airbus A321 on the Airbus production line. Photo: AINOnline

Featured Image: Inside the Airbus production line in Mobile, Alabama. Photo Credit: Airbus