July 23, 2015

Minutes of the Rotary Meeting
July 23, 2015
By Christopher Jones
The meeting was called to order by Robby McClure. Beth Stafford gave the invocation. Larry Sindel led in song with Bill Oppenheimer providing piano accompaniment. Tom Martenstein introduced guests and visitors.
Robby McClure made several announcements and recognized Jay Turner as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Introduced by Bill Sisson, Dr. Ulrich Weber of Airbus America presented on the Airbus 320 Family Final Assembly Line of Mobile. Having joined Airbus as an engineer in 1990, Dr. Weber has been a leader in the establishment of new production lines in China and now in Mobile. In his formal presentation, he first gave an overview of the Airbus Group, which employs 138,000 worldwide and consists of four lines of business: aircraft, helicopter, defense and space. Of those, the aircraft line accounts for approximately 2/3 of overall revenue with 55,000 employees who work in 11 production sites and 4 assembly sites. Dr. Weber then described the “family” of aircraft that share high commonality of design and components while varying in size and capability. The aircraft industry is growing consistently with a forecast of double traffic every 15 years, which equates to 32,000 aircraft needed over the next 20 years. The demand for the A320 – which will be assembled in Mobile – is very strong worldwide; however, it currently only has 20% market share in US while enjoying 50% market share in the rest of the world. The best selling and most profitable aircraft for Airbus, the A320 has a backlog of over 5,000 planes – more than 10 years of production. That backlog continues to grow as demand outpaces production. Last year 1,545 orders were taken but only 490 planes were delivered.
Dr. Weber reviewed the timeline of the assembly line in Mobile that will become the 4th such facility for the A320. Of great interest to all in the room, he provided the latest status: buildings and components are nearly complete and production is expected to start in September! The first delivery (to Jet Blue) is expected in the second quarter of 2016. Once fully operational, the assembly facility will deliver four aircraft per month. Interestingly, the constraint on production capacity is not the Mobile facility (which could deliver up to eight aircraft per month) but is the network of suppliers (such as engine manufacturers and other components) who are challenged to meet demand worldwide to Airbus as well as other manufacturers.
After his presentation, Dr. Weber graciously took several questions from across the room. Of note, he said that guided tours would eventually be offered once the facility is ready and it is safe to do so. In honor of his speaking, a donation was made to the Museum of Mobile.
Robby McClure adjourned the meeting.