Made in Alabama Airbus Takes to the Sky


MOBILE, Ala. – Last week the first Airbus A321 passenger plane produced in Mobile for American Airlines took flight and today the first actual delivery of an aircraft from the Airbus U.S. manufacturing plant took place.

On April 19, test pilots Mark McCullins and Bruce Macdonald and accompanied by Flight Test Engineer Nick Picconi, and Ground Test Engineer/Cabin Specialists Alexander Gentzsch and Mike Johns, flew the first Airbus A321 aircraft produced for American Airlines. They lifted off from Brookley’s Mobile Aeroplex, performed tests on systems, engines, and structures, and landed about 3 hours and 40 minutes later.

Today, the first-ever delivery from the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility was made to JetBlue.

Business Council of Alabama member Airbus reported that the all the assembly line employees were on hand to observe the turnover of the Mobile-built JetBlue Airbus A321.

They included executives from Airbus, JetBlue senior management, President and CEO Robin Hayes, and officials from the Gulf Coast.

Airbus broke ground three short years ago and today’s delivery is “an amazing accomplishment,” John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers, said.

“I am immensely proud to be here to participate in this first delivery from Mobile,” Leahy said. “It’s a testament to how well executed this project was and how strong the teamwork has been here in Mobile and throughout Airbus. The Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility has brought together all the best aspects of our other assembly lines around the world, and it shows how Airbus people work hand in hand with our partners to deliver great aircraft to our customers.”

Airbus in 2012 announced it would build aircraft in Mobile and less than one year later, broke ground on a $600 million facility. The plant’s ceremonial inauguration was in September 2015 and today’s JetBlue A321 successfully had its first flight on March 21.

Currently there are nine other A320 family aircraft in production at the facility, Airbus said. Airbus said it plans to deliver four aircraft per month from the Mobile plant by the end of 2017.

Airbus created hundreds of new jobs at both Airbus and at suppliers in the region. Airbus said it is that 87 percent of its new employees are from the Gulf Coast region and nearly one third are U.S. military veterans.

Airbus produces aircraft in Mobile, Hamburg, Germany; Toulouse, France; and Tianjin, China.