Now made in Alabama: Airbus jets

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

MOBILE, Ala. — From Delta Air Lines headquarters in Atlanta, the Airbus facility that opened in Mobile in 2015 is about 330 miles away — a roughly 4.5 hour drive or a 1 hour and 20 minute flight.

That's much closer than Airbus's headquarters in Toulouse, France, in both distance and political je ne sais quoi.

Airbus said the vast majority of airliners assembled in Mobile will go to customers in North America. Geography has not typically been a critical factor in aircraft buying decisions, but it may count for something in an era of concerns about globalization and offshoring.

When the plans for the Mobile facility were announced, for example, Delta's then-CEO Richard Anderson said "it will be great to see the A320 family of aircraft delivered from here in the U.S."

The goal is for the plant to produce four aircraft a month by the end of this year, and it’s designed to be able to expand to eight aircraft a month.

Ron Marlow, a board member on the French-American Chamber of New Orleans, said even his city a 2.5 hour drive to the west could benefit from the Airbus facility by attracting suppliers for the plant.

“This is great for the whole region,” Marlow said.

Read more about the Airbus plant in Mobile on Airbus is making jets for Delta and other airlines in Mobile, Ala.