MIAMI — Airbus has started the manufacturing of the first A220 aircraft at its Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama. The first team of Airbus engineers to work on the US A220 program recently arrived back from a training course in Mirabel, where the main production line for the A220 is located.
With the new Mobile assembly line, Airbus aims to produce around 40 to 50 A220 family aircraft each year.
“The expansion of our commercial aircraft production in Mobile to a second product line with 400 additional jobs to support it further solidifies Airbus standing as a truly global aircraft manufacturer, and confirms without a doubt that Airbus is an important part of America’s manufacturing landscape,” said Airbus Americas Chairman & CEO C. Jeffrey Knittel.
“With Mobile, and our production network in Asia, Canada, and Europe, we have strategically created a worldwide industrial base to better serve our customers,” Knittel added.
In mid-January, Airbus top executives broke ground on the FAL for the Airbus A220, formerly known as the Bombardier CSeries.
The final assembly line (FAL) for the A320 program in Mobile opened up in September 2015, with the first delivery complete by April 2016.
“We delivered 50 aircraft in Mobile in 2018,” affirmed Knittel back in January during the ground breaking ceremony.
“Around $600 million was invested originally into the Airbus A320 Mobile Final Assembly Line. $300 million of extra investment will go into a new A220 Final Assembly Line,” he added.
Knittel noted, at the time, that the “A220 line will reach four per month production rate at Mobile by the middle part of the next decade”.
Mobile-built A220s will be exclusively destined for U.S. airlines, which with 210 orders on the books, is the most major market for the program.
Given the quick ramp-up of the A320 program final assembly in Alabama and the backlog, one would have every reason to expect the predicted production rate to be reached in the early 2020s.
Delta Goes First
According to Airbus, the first deliveries of the A220 in the Mobile FAL is expected to be in 2020, with Delta becoming the first customer followed shortly thereafter by JetBlue and then the NewCo airline backed by David Neeleman temporarily dubbed Moxy.
Delta alone operates a fleet of 20 A220-100s, with another 25 on order and an additional 50 A220-300s. Delta’s first A220-300, expected to be delivered in Q3-2020, is to be the first US-built A220 to be produced at this facility.
Delta received its first A220s during October 2018, later put into service by February 2019.
The new A220 FAL in Mobile will continue to support more than 275,000 American jobs.