Airbus Plans New U.S. Plant


In the final week of 2018, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus inked a pair of deals with JetBlue Airways and a new U.S. startup for 120 A220-300 aircraft.

The deal will be a boon for those in the Mobile, Alabama area as Airbus just announced plans to construct a new U.S. assembly facility next to its A320 assembly plant nearby. The work could begin by the end of January 2019, but the company hasn't reported expected jobs numbers.

Right now, the startup is only known by a code name "Moxy," but it is a new venture helmed by David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways. Moxy agreed to a firm order to acquire 60 A220-300 aircraft.

Moxy was first announced in July at the Farnborough International Air Show. In a statement, Neeleman said that the new low-cost airline will offer "lower fares and a high-quality, comfortable flying experience." Neeleman says he was drawn to the A220 because it can be profitable in thin, underserved markets.

Moxy, which will be rebranded, will reportedly allow customers to customize everything from food to legroom.

JetBlue has also signed on for 60 A220-300 aircraft. According to JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, the company liked the aircraft's range and efficiency.

The A220 was designed for the 100-150 seat market. The craft has a range of up to 3,200 nm (5,020 km) and includes Pratt & Whitney’s improved PW1500G geared turbofan engines.

According to Airbus, the A220 has an order book of more than 500 aircraft. Over the next 20 years, the 100-150 seat market could include 7,000 aircraft. The company is optimistic that the A220 will be a big player in the space.

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