But COVID-19 struck, and with it came the worst crisis the aviation industry had ever had to manage. Plans to overhaul the A320 production system in Toulouse were “hibernated”, and the immediate priority shifted to adapting production rates to the brutal drop in demand and reducing overall output by around 40%.
With market recovery now in sight and a potential return to pre-COVID single-aisle rates between 2023 and 2025, Airbus teams can focus again on the long-term and are reconnecting to earlier plans to establish this new A320 Family FAL in Toulouse. Earlier this year, a supplier was selected by Airbus to design and implement this new-generation FAL, which should be operational by end 2022 and which will replace one of the existing, original A320 FALs in Toulouse.
Leveraging best-in class digital technologies, tools and processes, this modernised FAL will complement Hamburg’s A321 capabilities and improve the working conditions, overall industrial flow, quality and competitiveness by adding a new-generation assembly line to the Airbus single-aisle production system. It will also support production flexibility for the next-generation A321XLR, first deliveries of which are expected to take place from 2023 in Hamburg - helping to meet customer requirements and make the best-selling single-aircraft family even better.