The A220 production plant in Mobile, in the United States (© Tad Denson – Airwind.com / Airbus)
European aircraft manufacturer opened new production site in Mobile, Alabama to deliver aircraft to major JetBlue Airways American.
Airbus undergoes the crisis, like its competitor Boeing, and remains in the blur in Europe where its activity is idling, with companies which are no longer able to fulfill certain orders or which are no longer able to place new ones . But there is not only bad news from the European aircraft manufacturer who formalized, Tuesday, May 19 and in discretion, the opening of the new final assembly line of the A220 in the United States. A device he did not design.
The A220, a basic model intended for companies….
Airbus continues its development in the USA with the inauguration of a new 25,000 m² assembly line on the Mobile side, in Alabama, this time dedicated to the A220 (ex-Bombardier CSeries). We hear little about it, but Airbus has its ease across the Atlantic, and more particularly in Mobile, where the aircraft manufacturer already employs several hundred people in the production of other models (A319, A320 and A321). The opening of the new assembly line also doubles the size of the group’s production site on site, which houses five main assembly stations.
In the process, Airbus began assembling the first A220 in this line, which will produce versions A220-100 and A220-300 which will strengthen the fleet of the company JetBlue Airways, the “American easyJet”, a company comparable in size to British. Airways and Air France in number of aircraft. JetBlue will also be the second Airbus customer company, along with Delta Air Lines, to welcome American-made A220s. The first model should be delivered by the end of the year.
Airbus is making a real bet on the future by opening a second assembly line in North America (after the one opened in Mirabel, near Montreal, which is struggling to become profitable).
The main components of the airframe are assembled here (© Tad Denson – Airwind.com / Airbus)
… And which could attract new companies emerging from the coronavirus crisis
The A220, which has only been flying for a few years, has experienced a tumultuous start to operation. At the origin of its manufacture, we do not find Airbus but the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, decided a decade ago to compete with Boeing and Airbus on the market for single-aisle aircraft with more than 100 seats (between 100 and 160 depending on the model and layout of the device). The A220-100 was therefore the CS100 and the A220-300 the CS300. The range was named Bombardier CSeries.
But the market has gone through there. The CSeries (C-Series) program having been more expensive than expected, Bombardier, plagued by financial difficulties for several years, had to gradually withdraw from the program. In October 2017, the Airbus group seized 50.01% of the shares in the C-Series, Bombardier retaining 31% of the shares, and the Government of Quebec retaining 19%. The aircraft manufacturer began producing A220s at Mobile in the summer of 2019, using a hangar dedicated to the final assembly of the A320.
Things took a different turn in February 2020 with the acquisition of the remaining 25% stake in Bombardier in the C-Series program, now A220, for nearly 400 million euros. Airbus now owns 75% of the program and could make it a flagship model after the crisis.