First US-Made Airbus A220 Now In Production in Alabama
The first Airbus A220 to be made in the US is now under production at the manufacturer’s new final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama.
The A220-300 bound for Delta Air Lines will take roughly 10 months to assemble as certification and training on the new production line occur concurrently, Airbus spokeswoman Kristi Tucker said to TPG. The Atlanta-based carrier is scheduled to take delivery of the aircraft in the third quarter of 2020.
“It’s exciting to see the start of production on the A220 in Mobile,” Paul Gaskell, president of Airbus’s A220 program in the US, said in a statement “We look forward to all of the milestones along the way to a successful delivery to the customer next year.”
Related: How Airbus Is Planning to Make a Lot More A220s for Delta and JetBlue
The Mobile plant will be able to churn out 40-50 A220s annually by the mid-2020s, the airframer says. The facility is adjacent to Airbus’ existing A320 family US final assembly line at the Mobile Downtown Airport (BFM).
Delta is the US launch operator of the A220. It has 18 A220-100s in its fleet already, plus firm orders for another 45 -100s and 50 -300s, Airbus data shows.
"The entire Delta family is excitedly looking forward to taking our first highly efficient A220-300 from Airbus’ Mobile final assembly line," Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant told TPG.
The SkyTeam Alliance carrier debuted the A220 to positive passenger feedback in February. Delta now flies the aircraft on more than 20 domestic routes, including soon between its Atlanta (ATL) base and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA).
Related: Review of Delta’s Airbus A220-100 in First Class
Other North American commitments for the A220 include an order for 45 -300s from Air Canada, and 70 -300s from JetBlue Airways.
The A220 competes with Embraer’s E2 family, as well as with the smallest Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies, the A319neo and 737 MAX 7, respectively.
Airbus announced plans for the Mobile A220 assembly line in October 2017. At the time, the then-Bombardier CSeries program was embroiled in a trade complaint brought by Boeing that could result in any foreign-built aircraft delivered to US carriers being levied with an up to 292% tariff. The Mobile facility was seen as a workaround that would allow deliveries to Delta to avoid the levy.
The US International Trade Commission ultimately ruled against Boeing, and A220 deliveries to Delta began last October. Work on the assembly line in Mobile began in January.
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"While we've worked through a lot of challenges since that time… despite all the tariffs and trade and political challenges, we never wavered," Delta CEO Ed Bastian, said at an event to mark the first delivery at Airbus’ plant in Mirabel, Quebec. "We knew this plane needed to fly."
Airbus plans to continue A220 deliveries from both Mirabel and Mobile when the new assembly line in Alabama opens.