Jobs at the Brookley Aeroplex are taking off. Tuesday, Airbus and Bombardier announced that 600 new positions will be created over the next couple of years.
The two aircraft manufacturers announced that everything is on schedule for their joint venture to construct the Bombardier C Series aircraft at Brookley. A C300 sat on the tarmac at Airbus Tuesday.
“When you take the global reach of Airbus and combine it with the technology sophisticated C-series airplane, it is a formidable, single-aisle portfolio,” said Allan McArtor, Airbus Chairman.
A new 300 million-dollar final assembly line will be built at Brookley just north of the Airbus FAL.
400 people will be hired to build up to four Bombardier C Series planes a month.
Bombardier says it will need to build about 2,000 planes over the next two decades for U.S. customers. The C Series just debuted two years ago.
“What we’re talking about here is doing the final assembly of a brand new generation of single-aisle aircraft which is going to be in operation and service for years to come,” said Alain Bellemare, Bombardier CEO.
The C Series jets can seat between 100 and 160 passengers. The plane debuted in 2016 and currently is in use by Korean Air and Swissair. Delta Airlines, a major customer of the Airbus A320, has already ordered 50-75 of the C Series jets, the first of which is now being assembled outside of Montreal. The bulk of that order will be built in Mobile.
The C Series will be built much like the Airbus 320 line, with components produced around the world being shipped through the Port of Mobile to the assembly line at Brookley. The C Series has major components built in China, Northern Ireland, Canada and the U.S. Bellemare says the aircraft assembled at Brookley will be about 50-percent American made.
In the meantime, Airbus announced it will soon expand its A320 line from producing four jets a month, to six. A second shift will be added, requiring more workers.
“We would expect with the potential rate increase, to increase employment by about 200 from that alone,” said Airbus CEO Jeff Knittel.
Airbus officials say that uptick, along with the Bombardier joint venture, should finally encourage a number of suppliers to locate in the Mobile area.
“I would think you find a lot of suppliers, particularly motivated now to come to this area,” said McArtor.
The joint venture still needs final federal regulatory approval, something McArtor says he expects by the end of the year. Once approved, construction of the C Series assembly facility will begin immediately, according to Bellemare.