Airbus delivered its Mobile-made Airbus to JetBlue as city leaders looked on with an eye to the future. The JetBlue project began when the aircraft’s fuselage was shipped to Mobile, Alabama from Hamburg, Germany, in June last year, along with 4,000 other parts by Airbus.
The engines and around 40 percent of the aircraft was built from parts acquired from U.S. suppliers, Aerospace Technology reports. The final assembly of the aircraft began in July last year and was completed in October.
“This is just the beginning,” said Bill Sisson, President of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.
Sisson says with Airbus ramping up now toward full production of four planes a month, more suppliers will be drawn to the area. Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson agrees.
“I reviewed a sheet the other day that had a dozen names on it of people who are here trying to determine if this is where they need to be,” Stimpson said.
“Certainly it will happen,” added Sisson, “but it won’t happen overnight. It will happen in the coming years. If you look at this place five years from now, ten years from now, it will look totally different.”
— Airbus (@Airbus) April 25, 2021
It’s that long range vision that the Mobile Airport Authority is taking in preparing Brookley for suppliers and possible Airbus expansion, Alabama NewsCenter noted.
“It’s a marathon, not sprint,” said MAA Director Roger Woehner. “Days like this are great, but this isn’t the finish line. This is a 40, 50 year proposition at least for us. That means you have to think strategically. Our job is to do everything we can to make this plant grow and be global competitive. If we do that, our future is brighter than we can even imagine.
Just one plane has been built at this point, and only a few suppliers have located to Mobile. But economic developers are certain everything is on course.
“It’s doing exactly what it should be doing,” said Sisson.
Sisson, Woehner and Stimpson warn, however, that Mississippi, Florida and other states are actively recruiting suppliers and courting Airbus regarding expansion, so Mobile has to stay on top of its game.
With Airbus sitting on six thousand orders to be filled for planes in the air-320 family, there’s plenty of work ahead, The Pulse reported. Mobile leaders think the Brookley Aeroplex is better suited for expansion than other Airbus facilities that make the same planes in Germany, France, and China.
Airbus delivered its first Mobile-made A321 to jetBlue today at a cost of approximately $110 million.