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As of this week, Airbus’ assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama is officially open for business. The first plane to roll through the facility, an Airbus A321, is destined for JetBlue’s fleet. JetBlue operates two configurations of the A321 — a transcon version with 12 flat-bed Mint (business-class) seats and an all-coach variant that can accommodate 190 passengers.
The $600 million Mobile facility will eventually produce between 40 and 50 single-aisle planes this year, including A319s, A320s and A321s, such as the model currently being assembled for JetBlue.
The Alabama plant joins other facilities in Europe and Asia, where manufacturing costs aren’t quite as high. Of course, Airbus didn’t opt to build a US facility just to claim that its planes are assembled in the US — state and county incentives totaling more than $100 million helped sweeten the deal.
Ultimately, the plant is expected to add 1,000 high-paying jobs in the area, and if orders increase the facility could grow beyond those projections. If you’re flying JetBlue next year, you could end up in the Alabama facility’s first aircraft, which is planned for delivery next spring.
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