April 25, 2016 – The first ever delivery of an aircraft from the Airbus’s US manufacturing facility took place on April 25, in Mobile, Alabama, with the entire team of employees from the assembly line gathered to present their first completed product, an Airbus A321, to JetBlue. On hand for the occasion were executives from Airbus, JetBlue senior management, including president and CEO Robin Hayes, and a collection of dignitaries from the Gulf Coast region.
“I am immensely proud to be here to participate in this first delivery from Mobile,” said John Leahy, Airbus COO – customers. “Going from breaking ground on this facility three years ago to handing over the first Alabama-produced A321 today is an amazing accomplishment. It’s a testament to how well executed this project was and how strong the teamwork has been here in Mobile and throughout Airbus. The Airbus US Manufacturing Facility has brought together all the best aspects of our other assembly lines around the world.”
Airbus announced its commitment to build a single-aisle assembly line in Mobile, Alabama in 2012, and less than one year later, broke ground on the US$600 million facility. The ceremonial inauguration of the plant came in September 2015. The first aircraft, the JetBlue A321, had its first flight on March 21, 2016.
In addition to the JetBlue A321, there are currently nine other A320 Family aircraft in production at the facility. Airbus anticipates delivering four aircraft per month from the Mobile plant by the end of 2017. The initial deliveries will all be A320 Family aircraft with the Current Engine Option (CEO), but will begin transitioning to New Engine Option (NEO) derivatives in late 2017.
In addition to the hundreds of new Airbus jobs the project has brought to the local community, the Mobile area has seen many Airbus suppliers open new facilities in the region, providing even more employment and a parallel boost to the local economy. According to Airbus, 87% of its new employees are from the Gulf Coast region, with nearly one third being US military veterans.