The plant, which Airbus opened in 2015 and is the site where the manufacturer builds two narrow-bodies, the A320 and the A220, has suffered an incident at one of the hangars in Mobile, Alabama. According to reports, at least one Airbus A220 was damaged when the fire suppression system suddenly activated, covering the aircraft with fire retardant foam.

Airbus’ spokeswoman has confirmed the incident to AeroTime:

“On Friday, Sept. 13, during off-production time, the fire suppression system activated in one of the support hangars at the Airbus manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama USA”. As of now, the manufacturer cannot say whether the hangar burned because “there was no indication of a fire”, according to the Airbus representative.

Fortunately, Airbus did confirm that nobody was hurt when the fire suppression system activated. However, while the hangar is closed and “on-site assessment teams work to determine the cause of the activation”, Airbus also confirms that there were two aircraft placed in the hangar and are “are being evaluated” by the manufacturer.

The manufacturing site began producing the A220 on August 5, 2019, while the first Alabama-built A320 left the Mobile site on April 25, 2016 and Airbus delivered it to JetBlue. Airbus is yet to deliver its first A220 to a customer, but the Alabama branch has stated that first deliveries are scheduled to begin in Q3 2020, with Delta Air Lines being the launch customer of the Mobile-built Airbus A220-300.

Airbus is in “direct contact with the customers to keep them informed” about the potential situation, but has not disclosed whether the two aircraft were damaged substantially or, at all. Furthermore, whether the scheduled deliveries are to be delayed was also not confirmed by the spokeswoman.

A WestJet video showcases how a fire suppression system inside a hangar, including fire retardant foam, works:

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Airbus announced on August 5, 2019, that the first team of A220 production workforce have begun work at its Mobile, Alabama, facility, marking the official start of manufacturing of the aircraft in the U.S. By the middle of the next decade, the site targets to produce between 40 and 50 A220s annually to satisfy growing demand for the jetliner from U.S.-based customers.