Airbus has confirmed that it will build a new A320 Family Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama, with the first ‘Made in USA’ A320s to be delivered from the facility in 2016.
“The time is right for Airbus to expand in America,” said Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Brégier. “The U.S. is the largest single-aisle aircraft market in the world – with a projected need for 4,600 aircraft over the next 20 years – and this assembly line brings us closer to our customers. Mobile is now becoming part of Airbus’ global production network, joining our successful and growing assembly lines in Hamburg, Toulouse and Tianjin.”
Construction of the FAL will commence in the northern summer of 2013, with assembly of the first A320 Family aircraft to commence in 2015. Airbus expects that it will produce 40-50 aircraft per year by 2018.
Airbus already has an engineering centre in Mobile on the same site as the FAL that currently employs 200 staff. It is expected that over 1000 people will be employed in the new FAL.
The announcement was widely expected and seen as necessary to allow Airbus to boost production of its A320 Family aircraft to keep up with a strong backlog.
The new FAL will initially produce current-generation A320s and is also expected to assemble A320NEOs at a later date.