Fireworks took center stage as ground was broken for the new Airbus A220 final assembly line in Mobile. The FAL is the second line producing a major aircraft for Airbus in Mobile and the U.S.
The A220 is the former C-Series aircraft produced by Canadian manufacturer Bombardier. Last year, the two airplane makers struck up a partnership to produce the aircraft in the U.S. and Airbus renamed it the A220.
The company says more than 400 jobs will be created once the line is open. Airbus says they plan to hire as many as 600 in the next 18 months.
The addition is attracting a lot of worldwide attention to Mobile as the city has gone from producing no aircraft at all just seven years ago, to now producing more than 4 of the top selling commercial airplanes in the world in the Airbus A320. Recent order activity indicates the A220 is trending to become a best seller as well. It puts Mobile in fourth place in terms of aircraft producing cities in the world.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said, “So if your city isn’t named Toulouse, Hamburg or Seattle, it’s Mobile…”
In just the past few weeks, orders for the A220 have been piling up. Delta has already ordered 90 of the aircraft. Jetblue and startup airline Moxy have each ordered 60. That’s on top of a backlog of hundreds more, leading to an urgency to get the first planes assembled and delivered.
Airbus says it will actually begin assembling the A220 in Mobile before the final assembly line is completed. Those initial builds will be finished once the assembly line is up and running.