Airbus says U.S. factory will be world's most efficient
French-based plane manufacturer, Airbus Group will officially open its second single-aisle aircraft facility outside of Europe after China next Monday. The $600 million plant located in Mobile, Alabama is said to be the world's most efficient plant and is officially known as the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility. The new facility is set to rival Boeing production in an effort by Airbus to grow their presence and grab more share of the $80 billion industry.
The 116 acres facility had begun construction since April 2013 and have started its operation since July this year with the first A320 jetliner is expected to be delivered in 2016 to JetBlue Airways. Among factors making the facility efficient is a machine capable of installing 2,400 rivets attaching the wings to fuselage. At maximum capability, the facility will be able to produce up eight A320 jetliners a month.
According to Airbus statement from the company's website, the facility is an important strategy for the company since 42 percent of Airbus parts and material comes from the U.S. Besides that, low labor cost and easy access to the port is another factor Airbus choosing Mobile as their location as reported by Bloomberg.
The new facility will create more job to U.S in Aeronautics sector as Airbus is expected to hire up to 1,000 workers by 2018 for the facility alone. Currently, there are already 260 production workers working on the production of the A320 there. Airbus presence in the U.S is not new as the company had already employed 1,400 workers for its U.S offices handling small scale manufacturing work. The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S will be the largest plane producers in the next 20 years with 4,800 planes expected to be delivered by then.
The new plant is expected to rival Boeing plant in Renton, Washington in terms of production. Airbus plant can produce up to four planes a month by 2017 and can go up to eight on maximum capacity.
Currently, both Boeing and Airbus is manufacturing 42 single-aisle planes per month according to Yahoo! Finance. However, Airbus is planning to boost production up to 50 per month beginning 2017. The new plant is also important for Airbus as it needs to meet the number of the backlog of planes to be delivered to American Airlines Group.
The Airbus A320 Jetliner is the biggest competitor to Boeing 737 as it could sit up to 240 passengers compared to 215 on Boeing. However, Airbus overall market share is still falling behind Boeing as its 960 single-aisle plane makes up of only 20 percent of total market.