Airbus Plans Big A320 Rate Hike in Alabama

 - January 9, 2020, 11:08 AM
Airbus now builds five A320s per month at its plant in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo: Airbus)

Airbus plans to increase its A320 production rate at its plant in Mobile, Alabama, from five to seven per month by the start of next year, the company announced Thursday. The increase will help Airbus meet its goal of producing 63 A320-family aircraft per month at its four assembly sites in 2021. The company said the production rate boost and continued recruiting for the A220 manufacturing team will result in the addition of 275 employees at the U.S. facility over the next year. Airbus added 600 new jobs at the Alabama site last year.

Considering plans already in place for the production of four A220s per month in Mobile by the middle of the decade, Airbus expects to assemble more than 130 aircraft in the U.S. each year.

“We have invested more than $1 billion in Mobile because of the terrific team of employees there—and because of the support and welcome we continue to receive from the Gulf Coast community and state and congressional leaders like Senator Richard Shelby, who has been with us from the beginning,” said Airbus Americas CEO Jeffrey Knittel. “We look forward to building on that strong relationship with our neighbors. This goes beyond jobs to include our support of education initiatives and future workforce development that will positively impact the community for decades to come along the Gulf Coast.”

Airbus opened the Mobile plant—its first U.S.-based commercial aircraft assembly facility—in 2015. Since then the factory’s workforce has grown from some 250 to more than 1,000 by the end of last year. By the end of 2020, Airbus expects that number to grow to 1,300.

Airbus now employs about 4,000 people at 38 locations in 16 U.S. states. Among its other facilities in the U.S., Airbus operates an engineering center in Kansas; training facilities in Florida and Colorado; materials support and headquarters in Virginia; a think tank (A3) in California; a drone data analysis business in Georgia; helicopter manufacturing and assembly facilities in Texas and Mississippi; and a satellite manufacturing facility (OneWeb Satellites) in Florida. Over the last three years, the company claims to have spent nearly $50 billion in the U.S. with more than 450 U.S. suppliers, supporting more than 275,000 American jobs.