Airbus has officially started production in the United States of the A220, the European conglomerate’s newest product entry in the battle to keep pace with arch-rival Boeing.
Airbus said in a press release that it will deliver the first U.S.-built A220 in next year’s third quarter, with the kickoff to production at a sprawling new factory in Mobile, Alabama, marking a significant achievement as Boeing moves quickly toward folding subsidiary Embraer into its business.
Airbus said the first team of A220 production workers have just returned to Mobile from training in Mirabel, Quebec, where the A220 program and primary final assembly line are located.
“The expansion of our commercial aircraft production in Mobile to a second product line—with 400 additional jobs to support it—further solidifies Airbus’ standing as a truly global aircraft manufacturer, and confirms without a doubt that Airbus is an important part of America’s manufacturing landscape,” said Airbus Americas chairman and CEO C. Jeffrey Knittel. “With Mobile, and our production network in Asia, Canada and Europe, we have strategically created a worldwide industrial base to better serve our customers.”
Airbus in late 2017 announced it would bring A220 manufacturing to Alabama. Construction of the main A220 production facility for the A220 began at the Mobile Aeroplex earlier this year.
The first U.S.-made A220, an A220-300 purchased by Delta Air Lines, is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2020, Airbus said in a press release. By the middle of the next decade, the Mobile factory will produce between 40 and 50 aircraft per year, Airbus said.
Delta took delivery of its first A220, built in Canada, last October.