Airbus has shipped the first A320 large aircraft components from Hamburg, Germany to its Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama, as its first US-produced A320 is on scheduled begin this summer. The sea voyage, which departed last week, will take approximately 20 days.
The major component assemblies (MCAs) consist of the wings produced in the UK, the rear fuselage section produced in Germany including the tail cone (produced in Spain), and the forward fuselage section, including the cockpit produced in France, all of which contain parts from all over the world. The horizontal (from Spain) and vertical (from Germany) stabilizers are also on board.
Airbus established the FAL in Mobile to assemble and deliver A319, A320 and A321 aircraft to meet the growing needs of its customers in the US and elsewhere.
“North America is one of the largest single-aisle aircraft markets in the world. This manufacturing facility brings us closer to our customers, and strengthens the aerospace industry in the US, Europe and around the world. Production will begin in just a few weeks, with first delivery scheduled for 2016,” Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Brégier said in a statement.
The first Mobile-built aircraft is an A321ceo destined for delivery to JetBlue in 2016.
Mobile is the company’s first US-based production facility, and the fourth in the network that includes Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; and Tianjin, China.
Last week, Airbus management told journalists the monthly A320-family production rate at these facilities—starting from the first quarter of 2017—is four aircraft in Tianjin, 25 in Toulouse, 17 in Hamburg and four in Mobile. Current production rate is 42 per month.
Airbus started construction in 2013 on the $600 million US facility.
“We will start producing the first Airbus A321 variant in Mobile because there is a demand for the Boeing 757 replacement, especially in North America,” an Airbus spokesperson in Hamburg Finkenwerder told ATW recently. “Later on, from 2017—and when full production starts in 2018—we will deliver the A321neo,” he said.