In a festive, football-themed ceremony held today, Airbus marked the delivery of the first A320-family aircraft produced at the company’s U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Ala.
The aircraft, an A321, was delivered to U.S. airline JetBlue, a milestone which officials said “underscored the strong global team behind Airbus’ position as a leading aircraft manufacturer that remains close to its customer base around the world.”
JetBlue operates a predominately Airbus fleet, including 130 A320s and 26 A321s. The carrier designated its new American-built A321 the “BluesMobile,” combining its tradition of naming aircraft with the word “blue” with a recognition of this single-aisle jetliner’s production in the Port City.
“It’s been an honor to be here with Airbus throughout the process, from the announcement of the Mobile facility to its inauguration,” said JetBlue’s CEO Robin Hayes. “Now, BluesMobile is part of Airbus’ illustrious history. We want to honor the skill, dedication and craftsmanship that Airbus is recognized for around the globe.”
Today’s landmark delivery to JetBlue comes just over three years since Airbus officially broke ground at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley site in April 2013. Final assembly operations commenced in the summer of 2015, with the first aircraft performing its maiden flight last month.
In this short span, the company’s Mobile facility has already become a significant part of the Airbus worldwide production network, officials said. As the newest of four locations producing A320-family jetliners, Mobile joins Airbus’ other modern final assembly lines in Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; and Tianjin, China.
“What you see here is not just an aircraft,” said Daryl Taylor, Vice President and General Manager of the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility. “It’s a symbol of what can happen when a team works together to create something special. And what you see beneath those wings – the people – is Airbus at its best.”
Currently, nine other A320-family aircraft are in production in Mobile, in addition to the A321 delivered today to JetBlue. Airbus’ Mobile facility is expected to produce four aircraft per month by the end of 2017.