As part of its strategy to step up – and reinforce – production resources for the best-selling A320 Family, Airbus announced two developments in January. These steps will enable Airbus to increase flexibility, while also ensuring that production capacity for the longest-fuselage A321 version meets market demand.
At the company’s U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama, Airbus will increase the A320 Family production rate to seven aircraft per month by the beginning of 2021. This increase – along with continued recruiting for the manufacturing team that supports production of the smaller single-aisle A220 jetliner at Mobile – will result in a further 275 jobs added at the Alabama-based facility during 2020.
In Europe, Airbus has decided to create new production capabilities at its site in Toulouse, France, providing more flexibility for the production of A321 versions – driven in part by the popularity of the Long Range (LR) and Xtra Long Range (XLR) derivatives. This will involve the establishment of a digitally-enabled A321 final assembly line in the Lagardère facility at Toulouse (which serves as the site for assembly of double-deck A380s).
Toulouse is home to the original A320 Family final assembly line, with aircraft built at this location in southwest France since the 1980s. In response to the A320 product line’s global success, additional final assembly lines were subsequently established by Airbus at Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin, China; and in the U.S. at Mobile, Alabama. Currently, A321 versions are built at Hamburg and Mobile.