European plane-maker Airbus announced this week that 1,500 of its airplanes were now in service for U.S. and Canadian airlines. The milestone was celebrated at the company’s Mobile, Ala., assembly line with a brand new American Airlines A321 jet.
Airbus first entered the U.S. market in 1977 with Eastern Airlines. Then a relative upstart competing against American manufacturers Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, Airbus loaned four A300 jets to Eastern, betting that they’d perform so well that the airline would place an order.
The bet paid off, and Eastern ordered 23 of the airplanes, impressed with their economics.
Airbus has since gone on to place aircraft in the fleets of 25 U.S. and Canadian airlines and lessors. The tally includes virtually every major U.S. carrier.
“This milestone showcases the continued growth of commercial aviation in North America – and our four decades of commitment to providing the right aircraft at the right time with benchmark customer support for our customers,” Paul Oliver, Vice President-Customer Services for Airbus Americas, said in a statement recognizing the delivery to American that helped Airbus hit the 1,500-jet threshold here. “We’re proud to recognize this milestone with our partners at American Airlines, and it’s gratifying for it to happen with an aircraft built in the U.S.”
Take a look at our photo gallery of Airbus in North America (above), including photos past and present. Or scroll down to see other photos related to Airbus.
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