Aerial shot of the Airbus facility in Mobile – Photo: Airbus
Story and photos by Chris Sloan; was originally published on AirwaysNews.com on September 14, 2015.
With top level delegations from Airbus and the State of Alabama, Airbus Group today threw open the doors to its first U.S. Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama at the Brookley Aeroplex – The first time a foreign manufacturer has built jets on U.S. soil.
This new production facility, specifically constructed to build Airbus A320 family aircraft destined for delivery to United States and Canadian customers, joins sister factories in Toulouse, Hamburg, and the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin, where the company recently announced A330s would be constructed beginning in 2018.
Major components of the first two aircraft to be assembled at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility are shown in the main final assembly hangar – Photo: Airbus
The Mobile final assembly line opens with ambitious goals, befitting the A320 family program. First aircraft assembly began in July with the first U.S.-produced airframe, a JetBlue A321ceo (MSN6512), which is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2016, with delivery set in the second quarter. The second aircraft, also an A321ceo for American Airlines, is set to be delivered by the third quarter of the next year.
Plans call for an initial production rate of four A320 family ceos per month by the end of 2017, following an initial start of two aircraft per month. With the A321 being “the heart of the U.S. market”, the initial deliveries on the horizon are for the stretched variant. A320neo family deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2017 / early 2018 with no drop in production rate.
AvGeeks in Action – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The 1st of July, 2015, marked the fifth anniversary of Emirates services to Prague. To celebrate this achievement, Emirates substituted an Airbus A380 on the Dubai to Prague route, which is normally served by a Boeing 777-300ER. I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to the event. The occasion was celebrated in true Emirates fashion, with a large PR event and cocktail reception, as well as an aircraft tour and an opportunity to photograph the arrival from the tarmac; an opportunity any AvGeek among us will gladly partake in.
This was the fourth visit so far of an Airbus A380 at Prague. The first was a Lufthansa A380, followed by Emirates (for a medical diversion) and Korean Air (check out that story here). Unlike the previous events, there was much marketing and social media hype about the Emirates A380 – I guess this can be attributed to the strength of the Emirates brand image within the Czech Republic. On the day of the event, for those not fortunate enough to have access to the media/VIP event, Emirates handed out free hats and various other promotional items to all who came to view this spectacular aircraft, no matter what side of the fence they were on. Well done, EK!
SATA Airbus A310 – Photo: Lord of the Wings | FlickrCC
As part of a recent business trip, I had to make a trip to the Azores. There are a limited number of options for getting out to the island chain in the central Atlantic. As I was coming from Lisbon, I had the option of either taking the low-cost route of Ryanair/easyJet, or full-service options of TAP or SATA (Sociedade Açoriana de Transportes Aéreos).
What sealed the deal to take SATA over TAP was the fact that my desired flight was to be operated by an Airbus A310 aircraft, (affectionally known as “the football”), a classic airliner that is disappearing from active commercial service. I had never flown on an A310, nor on SATA, so I was looking forward to this trip.
Sometimes it’s fun to board by bus on an A310 (reg: CS-TKN) – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
Departure in Lisbon was from Terminal 1. Online check-in is possible with SATA, however as I had a bag to drop off and I wanted a “souvenir” paper boarding pass (something harder to come by these days), I used the classic counter check-in. As my flight was was continuing on to Boston, from Ponta Delgada, the departure was from the non-schengen area of the terminal. This necessitated passing through passport control, and was hassle-free as my boarding pass clearly stated I was disembarking in the Azores and I only needed my ID card.
When ready to board, we boarded a bus and headed out on the ramp. No complaints from me, since I enjoyed the experience of the A310 up-close-and-personal.
A Ryanair 737 taxis for a test flight at Boeing Field – Photo: Andrew W. Sieber | FlickerCC
Ryanair might soon start trans-Atlantic flights, but what does it mean?
At face value, this may seem like an earthshaking headline; after all, Ryanair has been either threatening or strongly implying that they will fly from various European airports to the United States.
But again, the truth is always in the details. Yes, Ryanair will be arriving on U.S. soil, but not tomorrow — not even next year. You see, the exact wording of the approval came in the form as part of their five-year plan.