Airbus has invested $300 million in its new assembly facility in the port of Mobile, Alabama next to an existing assembly line for its best-selling A320 passenger jet.
The European aerospace giant partnered with Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace to develop the A220. Prior to the partnership, the A220 was known as Bombardier C Series.
The Airbus A220 is a narrow-body fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft designed to be a medium-range jetliner capable of carrying between 100 and 150 passengers.
The first new U.S.-built A220 will not roll off the assembly line until late 2020. It is nevertheless a huge milestone in Airbus’s bid to promote its Alabama facilities and its American made planes.
According to CNBC, when speaking about Airbus’s production facilities in the southern United States, CEO of Airbus of America Jeff Knittel said:
“The airplane has a substantial backlog, whether it be the 220 and the 320 series where we have over a six-year backlog. Some of that from the U.S. airlines is a function of being in Alabama, but some of it is just having the right product at the right time.”
The demand Airbus is seeing for the A220 is exactly what they envisioned when they bought a 50.1% in the Bombardier C Series plane in 2017.
At the time of the Airbus purchase, Canada’s Bombardier was struggling to attract buyers. At one point it even had Boeing accusing the Canadian plane maker of low-balling the jets price to secure a deal with Delta Airlines.
Boeing took Bombardier to court over its claims, and when it ultimately lost the case, Airbus was already committed to building the plane in Alabama.
When speaking about Airbus’s decision to build the plant in Mobile, Airbus Americas CEO Jeff Knittel is quoted by Reuters as saying,
“The United States is one of the largest markets for us and this is our largest industrial base in the U.S. We have the skills and employees and it is the logical thing to do.”