Airbus to Expand Production Capacity for A320 Family

Airbus has decided to create new A321 production capabilities at its site in Toulouse as well as increasing production rates for the A320 family in the United States. By mid-2022 the current A380 Lagardère facility in Toulouse will accommodate a digitally-enabled A321 line as a step to modernize the A320 production system in Toulouse.

Michael Schoellhorn, Airbus' Chief Operating Officer, said: “In order to optimize the industrial flow, we have decided to increase our global A321 production capacity and flexibility as well as to establish the next generation Final Assembly Line in Toulouse”.

Currently, the only European Final Assembly Line to assemble A321s is at Airbus’ Hamburg site. In addition, the A321 is also being assembled and delivered from Mobile, Alabama, USA.

American Airlines is the largest operator of the Airbus A321 with over 200 aircraft in service. Photo by Cole McAndrew │ AeroNewsX.

A few days ago, on 9 January, 2020 Airbus announced that as part of its plan to produce 63 A320 Family aircraft per month from 2021, the company will expand its industrial footprint in the United States by increasing the production rate of A320 family aircraft at its manufacturing facility in Mobile, to seven per month. Airbus’ announcement comes following significant growth in 2019 during which the company added 600 new jobs at the manufacturing site. Airbus opened an engineering center in Mobile in 2007. Airbus’ original commitment was for 150 engineers, but now this facility is home to 220 engineers and support staff. The center’s initial focus on cabin engineering and A350 XWB design work have expanded to include design, engineering, and support for nearly all of Airbus’ commercial aircraft products.

Airbus A350 XWB. Photo by Anselm Ranta | AeronewsX.

In 2015, Mobile became home to Airbus’ first US-based commercial aircraft manufacturing facility. This factory grew from an initial workforce of around 250 to support A320 family aircraft production to more than 1.000 people building both A220 and A320 family aircraft by the end of 2019. By the end of 2020, that number will be around 1.300.

The company will also invest another $40 million through the construction of an additional support hangar on the site, bringing its total investment to more than $1 billion in the Gulf Coast city.

Airbus America Chairman and CEO C. Jeffrey Knittel said: “Airbus has been manufacturing in the U.S. for many years now through our helicopter, aircraft and satellite products. This increase in commercial aircraft production in Mobile is an exciting expansion of our significant industrial investment in the U.S., and it continues Airbus’ positive contribution to American aerospace.”

In the last three years alone, Airbus has spent nearly $50 billion in the US with more than 450 US suppliers, supporting more than 275.000 American jobs.

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