Airbus makes it official: A320 FAL comes to Mobile

Via Airbus

Via Mobile TV Station

Farbrice Bregier, CEO Airbus: We operate state-of-the-art factory, will create jobs, invest and grow the economy here in Mobile. We are proud to call an American town ‘home.’

We have more than 1,000 aircraft with 12 aircraft operating in America.

We invest more than $12bn a year in US economy, 250,000 jobs in more than 40 states. We are the largest export customer in US aerospace.

Why now? We’ve been talking about building aircraft here for seven years but pieces never came together. [Now they have.] Sourcing the best talent is a global challenge. A320neo is the best selling aircraft in its category. It would be foolish not to seize the opportunity.

Gov. Robert Bentley: Because of the groundwork laid…on the tanker project, we succeed today. The Airbus project will indeed accelerate Alabama’s [economic progress]. We’ve created a business-friendly environment in Alabama. I believe Alabama has the opportunity to build a major aerospace center just like we did with the automobile industry. By 2018 40-50 aircraft a year, first delivery in 2016.

The full press release:

Airbus to establish assembly line in United States

Industry-leading A320 Family aircraft to be made in largest single-aisle aircraft market

In a major strategic announcement today, Airbus said it will establish a manufacturing facility in the United States to assemble and deliver A320 Family aircraft. Located at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Alabama, it will be the company’s first U.S.-based production facility. Airbus stressed 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 time is right for Airbus to expand in America,” said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus President & CEO at the announcement today in Mobile. “The U.S. 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. Mobile is now becoming part of Airbus’ global production network, joining our successful and growing assembly lines in Hamburg, Toulouse and Tianjin.”

“This decision is great news for our industry partnerships in the U.S., and it supports Airbus’ strategy on several fronts,” continued Bregier. “This facility creates new manufacturing jobs and further enhances the partnership between Airbus, its suppliers and their employees – a very large percentage of which are located here in the United States.   We and the supplier partners with whom we work will be establishing a new aerospace center of competency in a region that has endured great difficulty in recent years.

“When Airbus aircraft take to the skies, our pride and workmanship will soar along with them,” Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said.  “We owe thanks to so many people who helped make this effort a success.  This project will create 1,000 stable, well-paying jobs that the people of this area need and deserve.  Alabama has the best workforce you’ll find anywhere in the U.S.  Airbus has recognized all that this state can offer expanding industries, and the company is making a significant new investment in Alabama.  Airbus and its parent company, EADS, have been great citizens of Alabama for years now, and we are excited to build on our wonderful relationship.”

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby said, “I would like to congratulate Airbus for choosing Mobile as the location for their first aircraft assembly operation in the United States.  This new state-of-the-art facility builds upon the significant investments Airbus has already made in the United States, and it is only natural that they would seek to tap into Alabama’s top-notch workforce in doing so.  Mobile has long been a hub for world class shipbuilding and it will now become a critical node for the U.S. aerospace industry as well.  The effects of this decision will reverberate far beyond Alabama, however, as the entire country will benefit from having both global commercial aircraft manufacturers building planes on U.S. soil.”

“The announcement of a new Airbus manufacturing plant in Mobile is wonderful news for our community, for our state, and for America,” commented U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions. “The plant, along with construction work and other related activities, will ultimately create several thousand jobs and inject millions of dollars into the local economy. This contract is a testament to the incredible skill and dedication of Alabama’s workers and an affirmation that Alabama is one of the premiere sites in the world to do business. Manufacturing is vital to a healthy economy, and I share in the excitement that these fine aircraft will be built by our workers in our state.”

“Today’s announcement is a powerful and optimistic statement – both for Airbus and for the people of Mobile and the Gulf Coast,” said U.S. Congressman Jo Bonner (1st District, Alabama).  “As Airbus plants the flag deeper in American soil, they are showing tremendous confidence that their industry-leading aircraft can become an even bigger part of the U.S. market in the coming years.  And the people of Alabama are excited and naturally honored, once again, to stand on the world stage with a transformational opportunity that represents not only hundreds of new jobs, but limitless possibilities for the future.”

“This is a real game changer for Mobile County and the whole region,” said County Commission President Connie Hudson.  “Mobile joins very select company as one of just a few communities in the world capable of manufacturing high-tech, large commercial aircraft.  We couldn’t be more proud of this development, more thankful to Airbus for their partnership, or more excited for the future.”

“It has been a long road and a lot of work, but we’re elated to bring this project to reality in Mobile,” said the city’s Mayor, Sam Jones.  “Mobile has a winning team – city, county, state, national and business leaders who have put a lot of energy and dedication into this project. Their efforts have resulted in a victory for our city – today and well into the future. Ours is a city of great, unlimited potential.”

Airbus already has a strong and growing presence in Alabama and throughout the United States.  In Alabama, the company operates an Engineering Center 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 U.S. Coast Guard aircraft.  In addition, Airbus operates an Engineering Center in Wichita, Kansas; an aircraft Spares Center in Ashburn, Virginia; a Training Center in Miami, Florida, and a regulatory and government liaison office in Washington, D.C.  Subsidiary Metron Aviation, a leading provider of advanced Air Traffic Management (ATM) products and services, is based in Dulles, Virginia.  Airbus’ headquarters for the Americas are located in Herndon, Virginia.  All together, Airbus’ U.S. facilities currently employ more than 1,000 people.

The company said that the new Mobile assembly line, together with associated functions, should create as many as 1,000 new high-skilled jobs.

Airbus’ assembly line in Mobile will add to existing production capabilities by other EADS companies in the United States.  For example, American Eurocopter manufactures helicopters at facilities in Columbus, Mississippi and Grand Prairie, Texas, while Cassidian Communications has an assembly plant in Temecula, California.

Airbus is the largest export customer for the U.S. aerospace industry.  Since 1990, the company has spent $127 billion with U.S. suppliers – $12 billion last year alone.

Airbus partners with hundreds of US suppliers in more than 40 US states, and the company’s expenditures in the U.S. support more than 210,000 American jobs.

Airbus is the 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. Over 11,500 Airbus aircraft have been sold to more than 470 customers and operators worldwide and more than 7,200 of these have been delivered since the company first entered the market in the early seventies. Airbus is an EADS company.

13 Comments on “Airbus makes it official: A320 FAL comes to Mobile

  1. Great news for the USA also. They now have real domestic competition for the first time since the demise of the DC-10 and L-1011. Remember that Ford in the UK, Opel (GM) in Germany and Holden ‘GM) in Australia are looked upon as domestic suppliers. It just takes time.

  2. “We have more than 1,000 aircraft with 12 airlines operating in America.”
    I had hoped it was more than that! 🙂

  3. Why great news for the USA? This company spread in Europe and where are the other aircraft companies that were there a few years ago? All disappeared. Do you want the same there? They do not have competitors at home. What about Boeing opening a plant in Europe? They also have thousands of aircraft on order and a lot of clients that “they can be closer”. Maybe the governments can give them money, as they will be “creating jobs”.
    At the end, both Boeing and Airbus are inefficient giants, that cannot have one design on time, on cost and without technical problems. Do you know ONE new design on time, on cost and going smooth? If you know, tell me, ’cause I don’t know. Have a look on my article on the SR-71 ( and tell me that I am wrong.

    • All disappeared in Europe? If you look hard enough you will still find British Aerospace. The Uk is still part of Europe.

      • Some of them don’t seem to think so.
        And it’s BAE Systems now, which should give you an indication of how much they consider themselves to be an aircraft manufacturer anymore.

      • What you had in mind Denis is probably Airbus UK (Initially Hawker Siddeley/BAC). BAE Systems sold its share back in this consortium in 2006.

        But there is also Bombardier (Shorts) in Belfast. And of course Rolls-Royce in Derby. So basic aircraft components like wings, fuselages and engines are still manufactured in the UK.

        Because few aircraft are actually assembled in the UK people have a tendency to think that the british aircraft industry is dead. Which is quite far from the truth.

        But if I was Boeing and were looking for a site in Europe to assemble the 737 MAX, I would seriously consider going somewhere in the UK.

        And for sure Boeing would quickly receive the John Curtis Sword Award for having done that!

    • Alenia, Finmeccanica, Saab, Fokker… just to name a few.

      And who exactly are Boeings competitors at home (in the LCA market) Where did Douglas and Lockheed go?

  4. Farbrice Bregier, CEO Airbus: ” We have more than 1,000 aircraft with 12 aircraft operating in America.

    We invest more than $12bn a year in US economy, 250,000 jobs in more than 40 states. We are the largest export customer in US aerospace.”

    Embellishing a little, are we Mr. Bregier?

    • Since its creation Airbus always had a high US content in their various models. That is where the “embellishment” comes from. You should be proud of the fact that each Airbus is approximately 50% american in its content, regardless of where it is actually assembled.

      Those US components are sold in dollars but are purchased with euros. Therefore they come cheaper for Airbus as long as the euro remains high. On the other hand everything else is more expensive because the airplanes are sold in dollars but produced in euros.

      The Alabama FAL should help Airbus to off-set part of the exchange rate.

    • Just like the job numbers we saw in the tanker competition – the absolute numbers are all hokum.
      Then again – what other non-US aerospace company do you think it the single largest customer for US aerospace products?

    • “Embellishing a little, are we Mr. Bregier?”

      Perhaps he learned to do that by reading some of your posts.

      In all seriousness, I don’t know how much of that is embellishment. IF you are willing to believe their orders and deliveries tables, there are 1133 Airbus aircraft actually in operation in North America (September of 2011). The number does include Canadian and Mexican airlines but I don’t think they make up that large a number of the total and it does not count the large number of aircraft that have already been delivered to North American airlines.

      I can’t be bothered to verify the other numbers but if you are seriously interested, I am sure you can get some rought figures fairly easily.

  5. artur :
    Do you know ONE new design on time, on cost and going smooth? If you know, tell me, ’cause I don’t know.

    The CSeries is on time, on cost and going smoothly.

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