First U.S. Final Assembly Line Complex (FAL) allows Airbus to better serve U.S. clients.
As one of the largest aircraft manufacturing companies in the world, the Airbus Group provides the highly popular A319, A320 and A321 aircraft to customers around the world. To better service its American clientele, including American, Delta, Jet Blue and United Airlines, the company needed a plant located in the continental U.S. Ultimately, it selected a 232-acre site within the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Alabama’s Downtown Airport.
To get the facility up and running as quickly as possible, the massive $600 million project was separated into four separate packages, with FSB selected to design Packages B and C, encompassing six of the nine buildings required. In all, the FSB team provided design and construction oversight for the Final Phase / Flight Line Hangar, Gauging Canopy and Delivery Center, the Transshipment Hangar, Main Entry Gate building, and a renovation to an existing warehouse and receiving facility. FSB assisted Airbus with navigating the differences between European and American design and construction standards and guidelines.
Combined, the FAL includes final assembly line building, hangars, test and delivery facilities, service and administration buildings, a logistics center, aircraft aprons and taxiways, along with areas for defined suppliers and a combined visitor/truck parking lot. Construction costs on the facility were lowered by adapting U.S. building materials with minimal changes in design and functionality. All building systems were designed to meet LEED Silver certification criteria, further reducing the long-term operational costs and improving employee well-being for the entire FAL.
Today, the new facility is the most modern and technologically advanced of all Airbus’s assembly plants worldwide. It boasts the ability to produce four airplanes per month, start to finish, with the capability of expanding to as many as eight. As many U.S. airlines struggle to replace aging planes, operation of this FAL not only creates jobs, it makes it easier to replace those aircraft by having a U.S.-based FAL and improving safety for travelers across the country.