Continuing its American expansion, Airbus launched a new assembly line on its Mobile manufacturing site in Alabama, United States, on January 16, 2019. The facility is to assemble the new A220 (former Bombardier CSeries) for US-based customers.

The new factory joins the already existing A320 assembly line that opened in 2016. It required an investment of $300 million and will need the hiring of 400 additional people, putting the number of Mobile total workforce at 1,100 employees.

Aircraft production should start in Q3 2019, according to Airbus, with first delivery of a Mobile-assembled A220 aircraft scheduled for 2020. The new A220 production facilities should be fully operational by next year.

The end goal is to meet the current output of the A320 in Mobile, four aircraft per month, by the middle of the next decade. Meanwhile, the Mirabel site in Quebec, Canada, that Airbus acquired from Bombardier is expected to deliver 10 aircraft per month. In total, the European manufacturer expects to deliver 250 aircraft per year by 2025 from its Northern-American based assembly lines.

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Airbus has just re-branded the Bombardier C Series jet acquired in a deal with the Canadian plane maker as the A220, setting “double-digit” sales targets.
 

At the beginning of January 2019, Airbus held an order book for 88 A220-100 and 449 A220-300. Customers now have to wait about seven years for their aircraft, a delay that this new facility aims to reduce.

As for a future assembly line for the A330 MRTT, if Airbus and Lockheed Martin manage to sell it to the US Air Force, Airbus Commercial COO Guillaume Faury, quoted by French media Le Point, said “the question will arise in the future.”

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One company's demise is another one's opportunity. Or in this case, two companies. Lockheed Martin and Airbus signed a memorandum of agreement to “jointly explore opportunities to meet the growing demand for aerial refueling for US defense customers.” The manufacturers are taking advantage of the difficulties encountered by Boeing's KC-46A Pegasus.