Airbus is struggling to keep up with demand, and as such is reportedly eyeing more capacity on the other side of the Atlantic. Rumor has it that the European planemaker is evaluating building additional final assembly lines at Mobile, Alabama and Mirabel, Quebec for its A320 and A350 lines of aircraft.
Airbus needs more assembly lines
According to rumors published by Flieger Faust, Airbus could be considering two more assembly lines in North America. The European planemaker has two assembly lines in the region right now: Mobile, Alabama and Mirabel, Canada.
Mobile is a final assembly line for the A320 family of jets and has recently expanded to include a final assembly line for the A220 also. Mirabel in Quebec is where Airbus produces the A220 family of aircraft in partnership with Bombardier.
Flieger Faust suggests that Airbus is keen to secure additional production capacity for its popular A320 line as well as its widebody A350 models, and will be looking to construct a new final assembly line (FAL) for each aircraft.
Airbus has won a record number of orders over the past 12 months, taking the crown for biggest planemaker in the world from its US competitor in the wake of the 737 MAX grounding. However, it has had its own share of troubles too, with airlines berating it for slow deliveries and missed timescales. More assembly lines are absolutely needed it Airbus is to keep up with demand.
Where would Airbus place its new sites?
Sylvain Faust suggests that Mobile would be the location Airbus would consider building another A320 production line. It would make sense, given that all the equipment and facilities are already in place. The report hints that Airbus may have been given an interesting incentive by local officials, to keep more jobs and business in the area.
For the A350, both Mirabel and Mobile have their pros and cons. Mirabel is interesting, as Airbus has already taken options on land around the existing airport, and a fair bit of land it is too. Flieger Faust says that the land it is holding in options is eight times the size of the land occupied by the current A220 assembly plant.
Land of that size would swallow a large A350 assembly plant with ease. Mirabel has lots going for it too. For a start, Airbus senior execs already spend a good deal of time here, overseeing the Bombardier partnership, and it’s close to Montreal, with plenty of space and quality of life for the workers at the plant.
However, Mobile has its positives too, not least with the Trump tariffs coming into play. The European planemaker undoubtedly sees plenty of benefits to be had in assembling the A350 in the USA, but would it all be too much with an additional A320 plant planned for the site too?
What do you think? Will Airbus build more sites in North America? Where should it put them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.