Airbus has resumed work on modernising the industrial capabilities of its A320 Family final assembly line (FAL) in Toulouse, France. The initial plans to introduce A321 production capabilities in Toulouse were put on hold at the outset of the Covid-19 crisis, following the decision to reduce commercial aircraft production by around 40%. Airbus sees market recovery in sight and a potential return to pre-Covid production rates for single-aisle aircraft between 2023 and 2025, which have driven the decision to resume activities for the project.
The investment is intended to provide Airbus with increased flexibility throughout its global industrial production system, enabling the company to respond to the market recovery and growing future demand. The modernised, digitally-enabled A320/A321 FAL will replace one of the original A320 FALs at the site. The line will be installed in the former A380 Lagardère facility and Airbus is aiming for it be operational by late 2022 – in time for that return to pre-Covid production rates. The facility will also help Airbus work through its order backlog of more than 5,650 A320 Family aircraft.
Airbus’s sites in Hamburg, Germany and Mobile, Alabama in the USA are currently the only Airbus production sites configured to assemble A321s. The modernised A320 Family FAL in Toulouse is intended to help improve working conditions and the overall industrial flow, as well as quality and competitiveness by adding a new-generation assembly line to the Airbus single-aisle production system. This higher level of A321 production flexibility will also support entry-into-service of the A321XLR from Hamburg, starting in 2023.