MIAMI — After a three-week journey from the Finkenwerder Airbus plant in Germany, the First major Airbus A320 family aircraft components have arrived to the Port of Mobile, Alabama, and transported to the manufacturer’s new U.S. premises.
Five different Airbus A321 sections under manufacturer serial number (MSN) 6512—to be delivered to JetBlue Airlines once pieced together—were cleared from U.S. customs and loaded onto heavy-duty trailers for its transportation to the U.S. Airbus assembly plant last Sunday.
This major milestone in the U.S. Airbus production plant program was witnessed by thousands of onlookers, who according to Alabama Today, lined up a few miles amid a Mardi Gras-style parade to celebrate the event.
“Since July 2012, Airbus and the city of Mobile have been anticipating the day when aircraft production would begin Mobile. The vision was there.With the arrival of these assemblies, and this special first convoy, we hope everyone can see that without doubt that the vision has become reality,” said Ulrich Weber-Vice President-Airbus Final Assembly Line, Mobile.
On the other hand, and according to Alabama Today, Alabama State Port Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Lyons called Sunday’s festivities “a big step toward the manufacture of airplanes in Alabama” and the region “becoming a premier aircraft manufacturing” hub, but he emphasized that the real work is only beginning.
“More sets of airplanes coming in will become an ongoing process, where the movement we’re seeing today is routine,” Lyons said, adding as much as anything valued at about $150 million can be considered routine.
Additional to these major aircraft components, 4,000 parts general cargo are loaded into sea containers at the Hamburg hub, transported then by truck to Bremerhaven and from there by container ship to Mobile under the logistics of DHL Global Forwarding.
In the course of this project, DHL will transport a total of 80,000 tons of freight volume for the assembly of aircraft in the U.S.A., comprising general cargo and major aircraft components including rear fuselage, forward fuselage, wings, and the vertical as well as horizontal tail plane.
Though aircraft production will actually begin in the next couple of weeks on the A321 destined for JetBlue, Airbus will officially open the U.S. Manufacturing Facility in September with a ceremonial ribbon cutting event. Construction on some of the buildings on the campus will continue through the rest of the year. There are currently 160 Airbus employees at the facility, with others in training with Airbus in Europe, and hiring is ongoing. First aircraft delivery is scheduled in 2016.