Aerospace & Defense

AL: Airbus Breaks Ground for First U.S. Assembly Line, Creating 1,000 Jobs

9 Apr, 2013

Manufacturing in the United States for Airbus, an EADS company, advanced another step closer to reality Monday, April 8, 2013 in Mobile, Alabama, as construction of the company’s A320 Family Assembly Line officially began.

During a groundbreaking ceremony at the Mobile Brookley Aeroplex, Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier acknowledged the significance of the U.S. facility to Airbus’ global growth. “Building an A320 Family Assembly Line in Mobile is truly groundbreaking for Airbus. Our customers need more aircraft that cut fuel burn, emissions and operating costs. With this assembly line we will be able to meet our customers’ needs at their doorstep, in addition to the worldwide demand for these efficient aircraft. When this assembly line opens, we will be the only one to assemble aircraft in Asia, the Americas and Europe.”

The new assembly line, which is the company’s first U.S.-based production facility, will be located at the Mobile Brookley Aeroplex and will facilitate assembly of A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. Major construction of the facility will begin this summer. Aircraft assembly is planned to begin in 2015, with first delivery of a Mobile-assembled aircraft in 2016. At full production, the assembly line and associated facilities would produce up to four aircraft a month which directly translates into employing as many as 1,000 high-skilled workers.

EADS CEO Tom Enders helped lead the celebrations and welcomed more than 1,000 attendees including many EADS and other Airbus executives, state and national dignitaries, industry officials and the local community. In a twist from typical groundbreaking ceremonies, officials and dignitaries introduced various members of the Gulf Coast community and aviation industry who spoke about how the new assembly line is not just about making airplanes, but the substantial positive impact it will make in the lives of thousands of people like themselves. Local community representatives included: Henry Hinojosa, Project Superintendent with Hoar Program Management represented the local construction industry; Liz Freeman, co-owner of Long’s Human Resource Services represented local small businesses; Victoria Corob, an eighth grader in Mobile; and Dr. Keivan Deravi, Professor of Economics at Auburn University Montgomery. Industry speakers included Clay Jones, Chairman and CEO of Rockwell Collins and Dave Barger, President and CEO of JetBlue Airways.

Airbus is a 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. Airbus champions innovative technologies and offers some of the world’s most fuel efficient and quiet aircraft. Airbus has sold over 12,700 aircraft to more than 500 customers and operators worldwide. Airbus has achieved more than 7,700 deliveries since the first Airbus aircraft entered service.

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 – which employs more than 200 engineers and support staff.

For Alabama, the beginning of construction at Airbus’s FAL at Mobile Brookley Aeroplex represents a leap forward for the state’s aerospace industry, which was already strong. More than 300 aerospace companies operate in Alabama including the world’s two largest, Boeing and Airbus parent company EADS. Others include GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Sikorsky, ST Aerospace Mobile and Raytheon.

Boeing has had a presence in North Alabama for more than 50 years, where it maintains a strategic missile and defense systems headquarters. The company’s Alabama facilities oversee NASA’s new heavy lift launch vehicle and provide support to the international space station.

Airbus’ FAL arrival has already generated further expansion. Airbus partner and engineering services supplier Safran Engineering Services celebrated its grand opening this morning at Mobile Brookley Aeroplex just before the Airbus groundbreaking just across Brookley field, and economic develop leaders in Alabama are working to recruit additional suppliers to the state.

Reaction to Airbus Bringing High-Tech Jobs

Officials also applauded the creation of jobs that will come with the Airbus facility at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“We all know that Airbus will bring 1,000 direct jobs to this site. That alone is good news for our great state,” said Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. “Jobs are not just about building a plane or boosting our economy. When we talk about job creation we’re talking about making a difference in the lives of real people. … This facility will mean a brighter future for the people across this region.”

Victoria Corob, an eighth grader at Clark-Shaw Magnet School in Mobile enrolled in the school’s engineering class spoke at the groundbreaking ceremonies, saying that she has always been interested in aviation and hopes to one day work for a company like Airbus in Mobile.

“This new aerospace center in Mobile will give us all new dreams for our future,” she said.