Airbus, confident of the demand for their narrow body jets, will put a new A320/A321 final assembly line in Toulouse in the space that was initially occupied by the A380 assembly line till so far.
The modernised, digitally-enabled A320/A321 final assembly line (FAL) will replace one of the original Toulouse A320 FALs. It will be installed in the former A380 Lagardère facility and expected to be operational by the end of 2022. Initial plans to introduce A321 production capabilities in Toulouse, announced in January 2020, were put on hold at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, following the decision to reduce commercial aircraft production by around 40%.
With a market recovery in sight and a potential return to pre-COVID production rates for single-aisle aircraft between 2023 and 2025, Airbus has resumed its activities for the project. Currently, Airbus produces 40 aircraft per month of the A320 family. Production will rise to 45 per month by the close of 2021 and 53 by 2022. Back in the day, in 2020, Airbus used to assemble 60 A320 family airframes per month.
Hamburg and Mobile (Alabama) are currently the only Airbus production sites configured to assemble A321s. The modernised A320 Family FAL in Toulouse will help improve the working conditions, overall industrial flow, and quality and competitiveness by adding a new-generation assembly line to the Airbus single-aisle production system.
However, the A321XLR, which is due to be rolled out in 2023, will get the unique distinction of only being assembled in Hamburg at the moment. This might be a bearing of the fact that the XLR’s extra centre fuel tank is going to be manufactured in Germany as well.
Whichever way you look at it, this is great news for Airbus and the aviation world, as this signals the return of the uptrend in aircraft manufacturing over a period of time.
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