The throttles are going up on a major expansion project at Airbus’ U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile that will double production space at the aviation giant’s strategically important Alabama facility in a little over two years.
Birmingham-based HPM, Airbus’ program manager for the expansion, says construction is advancing at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley site as part of a project whose centerpiece is the addition of a second A320 Family Final Assembly Line (FAL).
HPM is actively planning and working from corner to corner of the entire Airbus manufacturing campus in Mobile, with a focus on new installations and upgrades to existing facilities to support a manufacturing rate increase of single-aisle passenger jets.
The plans include over a dozen new structures that will add 1 million square feet of space to Airbus’ facility, effectively doubling the aircraft plant’s production area. Airbus is targeting the third quarter of 2025 for completion of the growth project.
“The expansion of our industrial footprint in Alabama is an important part of Airbus’ global single-aisle aircraft production increase,” said Daryl Taylor, Head of Commercial Operations for Airbus in the U.S.
“We look forward to continuing to partner closely with the State of Alabama and our industry partners to solidify our region’s position in the aerospace sector.”
Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Airbus represents a lynchpin in his team’s multi-faceted efforts to secure new industry investment and jobs for the state.
“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, who led an Alabama business development team at the 2023 Paris Air Show.
“There are exceptional developments taking place right now in aerospace and aviation in the state, and we’re seeing that encapsulated with the expansion project taking shape at Airbus’ manufacturing center in Mobile,” he added.
At Airbus’ facility, construction is under way on three new A320 hangar bays, two paint shop bays, a supplemental utility plant and the relocation of an upgraded utility corridor, which provides critical services like power and water to the entire campus.
In coming months, HPM will support procurement for the second A320 FAL along with additional hangar capacity for existing programs at the site as well as infrastructure improvements.
Pre-construction planning is ongoing for the site’s Welcome Center, a transshipment hangar, a fire station and a Physical Security Operations Center.
In addition, HPM and Airbus are exploring safety and sustainability measures for the Alabama production center that include solar/photovoltaic arrays, HVAC optimization and upgrades, and water use reduction strategies. All new facilities are designed with a LEED Silver minimum baseline.
“The lifecycle of the A320 Single Aisle Ramp Up expansion project in Mobile is in full swing, including new installations, advanced upgrades and implementation of proposed infrastructure,” HPM President Ryan Austin said.
“We look forward to playing a role in the continued progress of this ambitious endeavor and are honored to partner with Airbus.”
These growth plans also mean 1,000 new jobs at the Mobile facility, which employed around 1,200 team members at the time of the May 2022 announcement. The hiring wave builds on an earlier expansion project for an A220 FAL.
AIDT, Alabama’s primary workforce development agency, is deeply involved in helping Airbus fill new positions.
“We are quite busy with the continued ramp-up of both the A320 and A220 projects,” said Ed Castile, Director of AIDT and Deputy Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “There are 150 different jobs we are recruiting for between the two, for both hourly and salaried employees. Many of those jobs have multiple headcounts.
“So, it’s business as usual and full steam ahead based on their hiring timeline,” he added.
Castile said AIDT is expanding its Alabama Aviation Center, a 36,500-square-foot facility at Brookley that opened in 2014 to help Airbus get production up and running. The planned completion date for the expansion is fourth quarter 2024.
The Alabama Office of Apprenticeship is also lending a hand, adding 21 new apprentices in three occupations at the Airbus plant. The overall effort is getting assistance from local schools, the Alabama Community College System and universities in the state, as well as the Flight Works Alabama education center.
“It takes the entire village, and we are in it to win it,” Castile said.