Airbus has opened its new final assembly line hangar in Mobile and started production on the first U.S.-built A220 jet.
JetBlue will receive the first A220 built at the Airbus plant at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. It adds another important airplane model, joining the A320 family of aircraft already being built in the existing final assembly line hangars.
The added line of jets is an indication of the success Airbus is enjoying in Alabama, the head of the Alabama Department of Commerce said.
“The opening of Airbus’ A220 final assembly line in Mobile demonstrates the company’s commitment to aircraft production in the United States, and Alabama is proud to be the home of its growing U.S. manufacturing presence,” Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said. “This marks another significant milestone for Airbus and its Mobile production center, and we look forward to seeing many others in the future.”
The new 270,000-square-foot hangar will assemble both the A220-100 and A220-300. It was constructed in 18 months and doubles the size of the production space for Airbus in Mobile. It houses five primary assembly stations where major frame component assemblies come together for a completed aircraft in a flowline process.
Airbus began producing A220 aircraft in Mobile in August 2019 using space in an existing A320 final assembly hangar, and in newly built support hangars.
JetBlue is scheduled to take ownership late this year of the first jet being built in the new hangar.
“The team is excited to start working in their new facility and to welcome a new customer,” said Paul Gaskell, president of A220 USA and head of the A220 program in Mobile. “It’s a strong endorsement from JetBlue in this challenging time. The expansion of our commercial aircraft production in Mobile to a second product line further solidifies Airbus’ standing as a truly global aircraft manufacturer, and confirms that Airbus is an important part of the American manufacturing landscape. This A220 assembly line will help satisfy the U.S. demand for the A220 aircraft.”
Airbus purchased a majority stake in the A220 program from Bombardier, upping that stake to 75% earlier this year with the government of Quebec owning the rest. The Mobile site is the only U.S. production facility for the line of jets, which is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100- to 150-seat market. With an order book of 642 aircraft at the end of April, the A220 is poised to win a large share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market. A good portion of those will be built in Mobile.
“This is great news! Airbus has invested heavily in our community and supports hundreds of high-paying jobs,” said David Rodgers, vice president of economic development with the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are fortunate to be the only city in North America building two of the fastest-growing airplanes in the market.”