Airbus S.E. staged a groundbreaking event at its Mobile, Ala., complex for the new assembly line it will operate for the A220 series, the mid-range jets it produces as part of the CSeries Aircraft Limited Partnership.
Airbus purchased a majority stake in the Bombardier C Series program in October 2017, forming a partnership with Bombardier Aerospace and the provincial development agency Investissement Québec in July 2018. The C-100 and C-300 aircraft — twin-engine, single-aisle jets — then were relabeled as the A220 series.
The partnership already assembles the A220 at the Bombardier operations near Montreal. Assembling the aircraft in the U.S. is expected to lower costs as well as avoid potential tariff liabilities for domestic airline customers.
Airbus currently assembles the A320 series aircraft in Mobile, a complex which it developed at a reported cost of $600 million and opened in 2015. It has not indicated the cost of the expansion for the A220 line, which will begin assembly operations in Q3 2019 for delivery of its first aircraft in 2020.
The OEM stated the new line “will satisfy the strong and growing U.S. demand for the A220 aircraft,” having recently posted orders for 135 A220s from Delta Air Lines JetBlue, and the start-up low-cost carrier known as Moxy.
Airbus lists current orders for A220 aircraft at more than 500.