Airbus broke ground on its new A320-family final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., on Monday, during a ceremony attended by the company’s top leadership, state and local politicians, diplomats and aerospace industry executives.
The planned opening of the assembly line at Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex industrial site in 2015 “represents the real transformation of Airbus into a truly global company. While Airbus has deep European roots, we have always seen ourselves as citizens of the world,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO. By adding a U.S.-based assembly facility, the company will be manufacturing aircraft in Asia, North America and Europe, Brégier said.
“Thanks to Mobile, the sun will never set on Airbus,” he added.
Thomas Enders, CEO of Airbus parent company EADS, also spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony, as did Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Mobile Mayor Samuel Jones, Rockwell Collins CEO Clayton Jones, JetBlue Airways CEO David Barger and others. A JetBlue A320 served as the backdrop for the event, which was attended by more than 1,000 people, according to Airbus. Barger said JetBlue plans to take delivery of the first Mobile-assembled aircraft in 2016.
Major construction of the facility will begin this summer. Once it reaches full production, the assembly line and associated facilities will produce up to four aircraft a month, or nearly 50 aircraft per year. The facility will employ up to 1,000 workers, Airbus said.