Two and a half years after beginning the site works, the first Airbus final assembly line in the United States is operational, and its inauguration in Mobile (Alabama) will take place on 14 September, when the first aircraft will also be presented. The 1,000 employees of the 600 million euro plant will assemble aircraft of the A320 family, all destined exclusively for American companies, with the aim of snatching a part of the market share from Boeing.
Concerning logistics, Airbus will apply the same system as that which they have used since 2008 at Tianjin in China, where Airbus has an A320 assembly line.
The various fuselage elements will still be manufactured at the various European aircraft manufacturer’s sites (Spain, France, England, Germany), then transported to Hamburg, Germany, where the five basic elements which constitute an aircraft will be loaded onto a crane equipped flat bottomed ship bound for America, due to the Beluga’s (A300-600ST) insufficient range; an Atlantic crossing of 4,900 miles (7,800 km) taking 20 days. Upon arrival in Mobile, the elements are finally transported by road to the assembly line situated close to the port.
In two years’ time, four shiploads of aircraft elements will be sent by the European aircraft manufacturer each month between Germany and the United States. The objective being to roll out 48 aircraft per year, and corner 50% of the US single-aisle market, estimated at 5,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years. Delivery of the first "USA made" Airbus, an A321, destined for the US low-cost carrier jetBlue, is expected for 2016.