April 9, 2013
Airbus’ “game-changing” U.S. A320 Family final assembly line comes to Alabama
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new A320 Family final assembly line at Mobile, Alabama underscored how this new facility will further enhance Airbus’ presence within the key U.S. airline marketplace, while also broadening the company’s global footprint and providing additional flexibility to its worldwide industrial network. Mobile will join the three existing Airbus final assembly facilities that currently build A320 Family aircraft: its original location at Toulouse, France, which was supplemented by a site in Hamburg, Germany; and subsequently followed by the latest at Tianjin, China. The benefits of Airbus’ strategy to be in close proximity with customers at key locations worldwide is illustrated by its experience in China, where the company’s presence – including the A320 final assembly operations at Tianjin that started in 2008 – has been accompanied by a more than doubling of its share in the fast-growing Chinese air transport market. All four A320 Family final assembly lines will be kept busy for years, as Airbus has sold more than 9,400 of these single-aisle jetliners to date – with a current backlog of nearly 3,900 remaining to be delivered. The new Alabama facility will be able to build the A319, A320 and A321 – beginning with their ceo (current engine option) versions, then transitioning to the neo (new engine option) variants when these even more fuel-efficient aircraft enter production. Currently, more than 800 A320 Family aircraft are operating in U.S. airline fleets, with 19 customers based in the country. During the next 20 years, the U.S. market will have an estimated sales potential for some 4,600 airliners in the category covered by Airbus’ A320 Family – making it the world’s largest such market. The new Mobile final assembly line not only provides a strategically-located industrial facility in North America and a new aviation center of excellence for the U.S. Gulf Coast region, it also will generate increased work throughout the Airbus production and its worldwide supply chain.