COVID-19 is temporarily halting production at Airbus in Mobile, one of the state’s largest and best known international industrial sites.
“These actions are being taken in response to several factors related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including high inventory levels in the sites and the various government recommendations and requirements which impact at different stages of the overall industrial production flow,” the company said in a news release announcing the production pause.
“In Mobile, the pause in production begins this week and is expected to last until 29 April,” Airbus said. “Certain activities will continue on site, including building and installation maintenance, aircraft maintenance, some critical product safety and customer driven operations, receipt and control of materials and components, critical administrative support and preparation of activity restart.”
Airbus is also pausing production at sites in Bremen and Stade, Germany. In the past two weeks, production paused at Airbus sites in France and Spain, though work is gradually resuming in France. Commercial wing production in the United Kingdom and commercial aircraft work in Spain and Canada are also halted, the company says, “reflecting stock levels and latest government restrictions.”
“Airbus is supporting efforts globally to tackle the COVID-19 crisis,” the release continues, “and has carried out extensive work in coordination with social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees. This has been achieved by implementing stringent health and safety measures, while securing business continuity across the company.”
In 2015, Airbus opened a final assembly line in Mobile, its only one in the U.S. It had 250 employees and a goal of eventually completing four planes a month. In January of this year, with employment up to 1,000, the company announced plans to nearly double production to seven A320 family craft per month, and increase employment to 1,300 by the beginning of next year. In the meantime, the FAL has added a second product family, the somewhat smaller A220 family.
In 2019, Airbus outsold its U.S.-based rival Boeing, for the first time in the commercial aircraft market.