June 1 - Components for Airbus' first US-produced aircraft have left the Port of Hamburg destined for Mobile, Alabama.
Airbus established its US manufacturing facility in Mobile to assemble and deliver A319, A320 and A321 aircraft, in order to meet the growing needs of its customers in the USA and elsewhere. It is the company's first US-based production facility.
The major component assemblies for these aircraft consist of wings, which are produced in the UK; the rear fuselage section, manufactured in Germany, and the tail cone, which is produced in Spain; and the forward fuselage section including the cockpit, which is made in France and all of which contains parts from across the world.
The components for the first aircraft, which is an A321ceo (current engine option) destined for delivery to JetBlue in 2016, were loaded onboard the heavy lift vessel BBC Fuji in the port of Hamburg for shipment to the USA. The sea voyage takes approximately 20 days.
The transport of the Airbus components is being coordinated by DHL Industrial Projects. In the course of this project, DHL will transport a total of 80,000 tonnes of freight for the assembly of aircraft in the USA.
Five different aircraft components, each with a maximum weight of 30 tonnes, are loaded into bespoke sea transport frames, before being secured on roll trailers with twist locks and moved to Airbus' Finkenwerder wharf in Hamburg.
The units are then shipped onboard chartered vessels to Mobile, where the aircraft components are unloaded onto heavy-duty trailers and transported by road to the new Airbus assembly plant. After the components have been unloaded, the sea transport frames are disassembled and transported on flatrack containers back to Bremerhaven, before being delivered to Finkenwerder by road.
DHL explained that as well as the major aircraft components, the project also includes the movement of 4,000 general cargo units, which are loaded into containers in Hamburg, transported by road to Bremerhaven and shipped to Mobile onboard container vessels.
In April 2015, HLPFI reported that Airbus had awarded the import clearance and export services contract for its A320 family assembly line to Mobile, Alabama based logistics company Page & Jones.