Rising to the challenge (2020)

Airbus began the new decade bolstered by the company’s strong commercial performance in 2019 – including a record-setting 863 deliveries and the logging of 1,131 new orders – as well as the continued evolution of its comprehensive aircraft product line. 

Continued global demand for A320neo

Commercial Aircraft 06 January 2020

A320neo Spirit Airlines

U.S.-based Spirit Airlines – which finalised a purchase agreement with Airbus for 100 A320neo Family aircraft – will receive a mix of A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo

Read more

U.S.-based Spirit Airlines finalised a purchase agreement with Airbus for 100 A320neo Family aircraft, involving a mix of A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo versions.

New commercial announcements in the first month of 2020 reinforced the popularity of Airbus’ single-aisle A320neo Family.

Announced in January, Spirit Airlines finalised a purchase agreement with Airbus for 100 A320neo Family aircraft – including a mix of A319neo, A320neo and A321neo versions – to meet this U.S. operator’s future fleet requirements. Spirit is based in South Florida and is the fastest-growing airline in the United States, with flights throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.

Later in January, Singapore-based lessor BOC Aviation Limited placed a firm order for 20 A320neo aircraft – with as many as 12 of them to be operated on lease by Colombia’s Avianca Airlines.

New delivery benchmarks for Airbus’ A320 Family

A321neo Middle East Airlines Delivery Ceremony Airbus - Master Films - Philippe Masclet
Commercial Aircraft 09 October 2020

A321neo Middle East Airlines Delivery Ceremony

Delivery of the A321neo MSN10000 for Middle East Airlines Ceremony at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse

Read more

Handover of the milestone A321neo with MSN 10,000 occurred in Toulouse, France to Middle East Airlines.

Underscoring the continued popularity of its single-aisle product line, Airbus delivered the A320 Family aircraft with manufacturer serial number (MSN) 10,000 in October – with this milestone A321neo received by Middle East Airlines.

The achievement came just eight years after Airbus’ handover of the A320 Family aircraft with manufacturer serial number 5,000. To underscore Airbus’ industrial advancement over the decades, it took the company nearly three-times as long to reach the first 5,000-mark.

Another product line milestone occurred in October with handover of the 500th A320 Family aircraft produced at Airbus’ final assembly line in Tianjin, China: an A320neo version delivered for operation by China Southern Airlines. 

First converted A321P2F gets to work with Qantas

A321 27 October 2020

Qantas A321 P2f Enters Into Service

Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), the joint venture created by Airbus and ST Engineering has achieved key milestones in the A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion programme with the delivery and entry-into-service on 27th October of the first converted aircraft to Qantas.

Read more

Qantas leased its no. 1 A321P2F converted freighter from aircraft asset manager Vallair.

The first converted aircraft in Airbus’ A321 passenger-to-freighter programme entered service with Australian operator Qantas in October, following delivery by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) – the joint venture created by Airbus and ST Engineering. It will be operated on behalf of Australia Post, which provides mail services across the country.

Airbus’ A321P2F freighter is the first in its size category to offer containerised loading in both the main (up to 14 full container positions) and lower deck (up to 10 container positions). Including a generous payload-range capability that can carry 28 metric tonnes over 2,300 nautical miles, the A321P2F is the ideal single-aisle freighter aircraft for express domestic and regional operations. It is to be complemented in the future by a A320P2F version based on Airbus’ A320. 

Expansion of production resources

Airbus A220 final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama © Tad Denson - Airwind.com
Commercial Aircraft 05 August 2019

Airbus A220 final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama

Airbus began manufacturing the A220 jetliner in the U.S. during 2019, led by the first team of A220 production workers who underwent on-the-job training in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada – where the A220 programme and primary final assembly line are located

Read more

Airbus’ U.S. final assembly line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama will increase its cadence to support the company’s overall acceleration of A320 Famly jetliners to 63 aircraft monthly in 2021.

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. 

Bringing a “smile” to Airbus production

Commercial Aircraft 13 January 2020

BelugaXL in flight

Airbus’ BelugaXL, which entered service in January 2020, has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide

Read more

The BelugaXL oversize cargo airlifter is derived from Airbus’ versatile A330 widebody product line.

The January service entry of Airbus’ first operational BelugaXL brought a significant boost to the company’s production network, which was reinforced in October as a second of these oversize cargo airlifters joined the in-service fleet.

Ultimately, six Beluga XLs (derived from the twin-engine A330 jetliner) will operate from 11 destinations in Europe – providing additional transport capacity as they gradually replace five previous-generation Beluga ST versions (which were modified from the earlier A300 aircraft).

Managed by the Airbus Transport International (ATI) subsidiary, the BelugaXLs support Airbus’ ongoing production across its commercial aircraft programmes.

Committed to the A220

Delivery of first A220 produced in the U.S. Tad Denson - Airwind, Inc.
Commercial Aircraft 22 October 2020

Delivery of first A220 produced in the U.S.

The first U.S.-built A220 commercial aircraft – which was produced at Airbus’ final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama – was delivered to U.S. operator Delta Air Lines in October 2020

Read more

Delta Air Lines received the first A220 assembled in the U.S. at Airbus’ Mobile, Alabama industrial site.

In February, Airbus and the Government of Québec became sole owners of the A220 programme as Bombardier completed its strategic exit from the commercial aviation sector.

The new agreement brought shareholdings in the Airbus Canada Limited Partnership – responsible for A220 aircraft production – to 75% for Airbus and 25% for the Government of Québec. It also underscored the partners’ continued commitment to the single-aisle programme, which includes A220-100 and A220-300 versions.

As part of the transaction, Airbus – via its wholly-owned subsidiary STELIA Aerospace –also acquired the A220 and A330 work package production capabilities from Bombardier in Saint-Laurent, Québec.

February also brought a significant A220 commercial announcement with Nigeria-based Green Africa Airways’ memorandum of understanding for 50 A220-300 aircraft – marking one of the A220 programme’s major orders to be placed globally.

October marked a major industrial milestone with delivery of the first U.S.-assembled A220 – an A220-300 version – to Delta Air Lines from Airbus’ facility in Mobile, Alabama. This U.S.-based carrier is the largest A220 customer and will be the first A220 operator in the Americas to operate both the A220-100 and A220-300 aircraft types.

Enhancing Airbus’ U.S. footprint

Mobile U.S. manufacturing site Tad Denson - Airwind, Inc.
Commercial Aircraft 25 July 2020

Mobile U.S. manufacturing site

Celebrating five years of production in September 2020, Mobile has grown from an initial workforce of around 250 staff producing A320 Family aircraft, to 1,000 employees building both the A220 and A320 aircraft families

Read more

The Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility underscores the company’s position as a truly global aircraft company.

In May, the A220 programme gained further momentum with inauguration of this aircraft’s 270,000-square-foot production facility at the company’s U.S. industrial site. Located at Mobile, Alabama, the new final assembly line can build both A220-100 and A220-300 versions of Airbus’ newest addition to its single-aisle product line.    

The Mobile industrial location – which officially is called the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility – became the A220’s second assembly site, complementing the primary assembly facility and programme headquarters located in Mirabel, Canada. 

With this inauguration, Airbus’ production “footprint” in the U.S. state of Alabama officially doubled in size, expanding the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility, which has been building A320 Family aircraft since 2015.

Airbus celebrated five years of production at Mobile in September. During this period, the facility has grown from an initial workforce of around 250 staff. With the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility, Airbus has become a major economic driver in creating an aerospace hub on the U.S. Gulf – injecting some $1.2 billion into the economy and supporting more than 15,000 jobs overall.

A330-800: certified for flight

Commercial Aircraft 13 February 2020

A330-800 in flight

Incorporating new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330-800 is the most efficient, longest-range entry-level widebody aircraft

Read more

The A330-800 delivers a 25% reduction in fuel consumption compared to older-generation competitor aircraft of similar size.

Airbus’ A330-800 – the most efficient and longest-range entry-level widebody aircraft in the world – received joint Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in February.

This achievement came after the conclusion of a rigorous test programme that involved 370 flight hours in total. Certified initially with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 242 tonnes for a range capability of up to 7,500 nautical miles, the A330-800 will typically seat 220 to 260 passengers in three classes, or up to 406 travellers in a single-class high-density configuration.

The A330-800 is part of Airbus’ new-generation A330neo family.

EASA approves the A330-900 with increased take-off weight

A330-900 Airbus MSN1967 251 Tonnes First Flight - taxiing Airbus - Master Films - Hervé Goussé
Commercial Aircraft 28 February 2020

A330-900 Airbus MSN1967 251 Tonnes First Flight - taxiing

A330-900 new MTOW first flight – Taxiing Airbus' A330-900 weight variant – which benefits from a maximum take-off weight increase to 251 tonnes – begins its taxi to the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport runway ahead of the maiden flight

Read more

The 251-metric tonne Maximum Take-Off Weight variant of Airbus’ A330-900 is ideal for longer trans-Pacific or Asia-Europe routes.

In October, Airbus announced the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification of the A330-900’s 251-metric tonne Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) variant – which responds to evolving market needs by enabling airlines to benefit from the A330neo’s unique economics on even longer flights.

This new A330neo variant offers a significant 650-nautical mile boost in range – or six tonnes more payload – when compared with the A330-900’s 242-tonne version.

In achieving the 251 metric tonne capability, Airbus retained 99% spares commonality, as this MTOW increase was facilitated through a combination of weight-neutral structural reinforcements and landing gear adaptations.

Introducing the ACJ TwoTwenty

Service entry of the first ACJ TwoTwenty corporate jet is targeted for early 2023.

The month of October marked Airbus Corporate Jets’ launch of its ACJ TwoTwenty with the announcement of six orders for this game-changing business jet – which combines intercontinental range, unparalleled personal space and maximum comfort for everyone on board.

Based on Airbus’ A220-100 commercial aircraft, the ACJ TwoTwenty will have an increased range for trips of up to 5,650 nm/10,500 km (the equivalent of more than 12 flight hours) while

delivering unbeatable economics and unrivalled reliability.  It offers three-times more cabin space than competing business jets, with a one-third reduction in operating costs.

The full aircraft history (1968 to 2020)

Building on success (2019)

Poised to reach new heights (2020)

Airbus through the decades

Helicopter history

Space history

Defence history

Back to top