As the production of the Airbus A380 winds down, Airbus has begun closing factories supplying parts to the aircraft. The manufacturer will close one of two plants in southern Spain, merging their operations due to lack of work for both. Let’s find out more.
According to Bloomberg, Airbus has confirmed plans to close one of its production facilities in southern Spain. The European giant has two A380 factories in the region (Puerto Real and Cadiz), but with the A380 production coming to an end, it can only support one site going forward. This means operations from the two will be merged in the future.
It’s currently unknown which factory will be axed as part of the proposal. Notably, Spanish workers have held protests over the possible closure of the Puerto Real plant recently. The site made horizontal stabilizers for the A380 and closure would risk the loss of up to 460 jobs.
An Airbus spokesperson has said the manufacturer is in talks with unions and the government over the closure. The aerospace firm hopes to avoid forced layoffs by offering voluntary severance packages, furloughs, and better performance at the merged plant. However, one plant is extremely like to go in the near future.
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Puerto Real isn’t the only Airbus production site facing doubts about its future. The West Factory in Broughton, England, also became a ghost factory after the final A380 wings were made and shipped off for assembly last year. However, this week brought some bright news for this specific factory.
Airbus confirmed that it plans to keep the West Factory in mind for its future planning and could find a new use for it. While exact details are unknown, it is good news for hundreds of staff and the future of the plant.
As the final A380 undergoes testing and preparation to make its way to Emirates, Airbus has a lot of work left to do. The manufacturer will need to shut down or repurpose dozens of facilities across Europe. Currently, we know that the A380s final assembly line in Toulouse will be repurposed to build A320-family jets instead.
While Airbus announced plans to pull the plug on the A380’s production in 2019 itself, the pandemic has been a death blow to the type. Several carriers have retired their fleets entirely, while others leave theirs in long-term storage. With so few A380s flying and the second-hand market unlikely to be busy, Airbus is preparing to say goodbye to its superjumbo project.
However, hundreds of A380s eventually returning to service in the next few years as traffic recovery. When this happens, Airbus will need to be prepared to provide servicing and fresh parts to airlines, ensuring a supply chain for the superjumbo will remain in place for years to come.
What do you think about Airbus’ decision to merge two of its plants? Let us know in the comments!