Airbus decision on first Mobile A320 customer in Q3

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Airbus plans to make a decision on which airline will receive the first A320 built at the airframer's new Mobile, Alabama, final assembly line in the third quarter.

Barry Eccleston, president and chief executive of Airbus Americas, says that the first customer will be a US-based carrier, on the sidelines of the JetBlue Airways A320 sharklet event in New York on 21 February.

American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America have orders for A320 and A320neo family aircraft. Republic Airways-subsidiary Frontier Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines also have orders for the A320neo family.

The first delivery of an A320 family aircraft from Mobile is scheduled for 2016. American, JetBlue, Spirit and Virgin America have deliveries scheduled that year, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.

American, JetBlue and Virgin America are widely considered frontrunners for the first delivery.

Eccleston says that Airbus is in the procurement process for a construction project manager and plans to begin procurement for construction of the Mobile facility later this year.

"The programmes going on track," he says.