Governor Kay Ivey joined Airbus officials, Mobile leaders and education professionals at a community event Monday afternoon to celebrate the aerospace company’s new growth plans at its Alabama manufacturing facility.
Airbus’ latest expansion project calls for the addition of a third final assembly line, or FAL, at its Mobile factory to support increased production of its A320 Family of single-aisle passenger aircraft.
During Monday’s event at Bishop State Community College, Airbus outlined plans to add 1,000 new jobs over the next several years to its workforce at the Mobile manufacturing facility, which today totals around 1,200.
“It’s wonderful to see Airbus continue to grow its only U.S. airliner manufacturing operation with another expansion in Mobile,” said Governor Ivey. “This growth is made possible by the company’s skilled workforce in Alabama and our commitment to developing a pipeline of future aerospace workers.”
Last week, Airbus announced plans to ramp up global production of A320 Family jets, including the addition of the new 350,000 square-foot FAL in Mobile. Details about the new jobs at the Alabama facility were not released at that time.
“The fact that Mobile will lead our unprecedented global production rate increase in coming years is a tribute to the world-class labor force in Alabama,” said C. Jeffrey Knittel, chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas. “I’m so proud of our Mobile employees for proving through years of hard work what Alabama is capable of, and I’m also immensely grateful to state leadership for making Alabama such a great place to invest and do business.”
To facilitate Airbus’ hiring plans, Alabama workforce development and education organizations are collaborating on new recruitment and training initiatives to build out the jobs pipeline, said Ed Castile, director of Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) and deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“Airbus has been an extraordinary partner as we work together daily to help change people’s lives,” said Castile. “Airbus provides incredible career opportunities, and we have the awesome opportunity to help them find their team and assist with training.”
Castile said AIDT plans to expand its Aviation Training Center at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, a 36,500-square-foot facility that opened in 2014 specifically to help Airbus get production up and running.
AIDT is also expanding apprenticeship programs and supporting Airbus training initiatives at Flight Works Alabama, including FlightPath9, We Build It Better and aviation dual enrollment at area schools, he added.
Flight Works Alabama is an aerospace education center located near the Airbus facility that aims to inspire future aviation workers across the Mobile region. The 15,000-square-foot facility, which features more than 40 high-tech exhibits, opened in August 2020.
Flight Works also directs the FlightPath9 program that targets high school seniors in the Mobile community with a desire to work in aerospace. We Build It Better is an innovative learning program that provides classroom kits and interactive techniques designed to help instructors expand students’ creative capacity and encourage discoveries.
“We see Airbus as the ‘tip of the spear’ with its Alabama location and its continued growth as a powerful catalyst for an expansion of the aerospace industry in our state,” said Castile. “This Airbus expansion simply highlights that Alabama is open for business and a great place to work and raise a family.”
Airbus produced the first Alabama-built A320 aircraft in 2015, and it launched production of the A220 single-aisle passenger jet in Mobile during 2019, with a new assembly line specifically for the A220 opening the next year.
Airbus has invested over $1 billion in its Alabama manufacturing facility.
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the state’s aerospace/aviation industry is primed for growth. During 2021, companies within the sector announced new investments totaling $220 million in projects expected to create 667 jobs, Commerce data indicate.
“Aerospace industry growth continues to be a high-value opportunity for Alabama, not only in terms of capital investment but also in job creation,” said Secretary Canfield. “There are a lot of exciting things going on in aerospace and aviation in the state, and we’re seeing that today with the expansion at Airbus.”
Mobile officials praised Airbus for its commitment to growth at the Brookley manufacturing site.
“Mobile is quickly becoming a global epicenter for the aerospace industry, and the addition of a third final assembly line in Mobile is a testament to our area’s workforce,” said David Rodgers, vice president of economic development at the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.