Airbus set to expand in Mobile

CEO Faury talks of expanding the firm’s Mobile footprint to support a 50% increase in A320-family production

An A220 begins to take shape at the second Airbus final assembly line in Mobile, which opened in 2020. Photo by Brad McPherson.

With a bull market for Airbus aircraft, the European plane maker announced plans Wednesday to increase production of the popular A320 model — including expansion at the firm’s plant in Mobile.

“Commercial aircraft production for the A320 Family is progressing towards a monthly rate of 65 aircraft by summer 2023, in a complex environment,” the company said in its quarterly earnings release. “Following an analysis of global customer demand as well as an assessment of the industrial ecosystem’s readiness, the company is now working with its suppliers and partners to enable monthly production rates of 75 in 2025.

“This production increase will benefit the entire global industrial value chain. Airbus will meet the higher production rates by increasing capacity at its existing industrial sites and growing the industrial footprint in Mobile, U.S., while investing to ensure that all commercial aircraft assembly sites are A321-capable.”

The proposed increase in production would boost output from about 50 A320-family planes a month now to 65 a month by the middle of 2023 and 75 a month in 2025, Reuters reported.

“The decision will lead to a second A320-family assembly line in Mobile, Alabama,” Reuters added, “increasing the European manufacturer’s presence in arch-rival Boeing’s backyard. So far, Airbus has nine current or planned lines in Europe, the U.S. and China.”

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Airbus already operates two final assembly lines in Mobile — the original producing A320-family planes and the second producing the smaller A220-family jets.

While reassuring European partners that major production will remain in Europe, Reuters reported, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury told reporters: “We can go faster in Mobile and will be gaining critical mass. It will benefit the whole ecosystem of Airbus and benefit all our sites.”

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