Rumor: Airbus Planning More Assembly Lines In North America

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 Mobile factory
Airbus could be considering more assembly lines in North America. Photo: Getty

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.

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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.

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Airbus factory Mobile
Airbus has been assembling the A320 family at Mobile since 2015. Photo: Getty

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.

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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.

Air Canada, Airbus A220, logo mishap
Mirabel is home to the A220 FAL. Photo: Airbus

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.

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TonytTDK

It’d probably make most sense to just make extra A320/21’s at Mobile & increase production of A220’s at Mirabel
& then create the A350 fall on that new site too.
Of course Airbus will be planning in the A380 fall becoming available this time next year, too.!

TheDude

Do the new Beluga’s have the range for that?

Matias

No

jethro

Make Airbus Beluga NEO

Gerry S

Makes good sense to expand more fully here in North America. US and Canadian airlines are purchasing more Airbus a/c than ever. The US has the real estate for mammoth manufacturing facilities and the occupants of that real estate are salivating at the prospect of ever more increased business. Win, win, win for all involved.

Niklas Andersson

Why not buying Boeing Facilities !?

William

Established location have social problems, union problems etc. and the kind of university where protestors turn up to deplatform a TERF. Auto Industry found out. Go Greenfields.

David C.

If they create new lines, the local and regional governments will offer tax incentives. Plus the Boeing sites have expensive, well established unions and are located in cities with high median cost of living concerns.
Lots of reasons to create new lines.

USOZ

It would make sense to make more A320 and 321s in the USA and A350s in Canada. Canada has CETA along with NAFTA, thus it has tariff free access to both markets.

Transworld

It would make sense to see what Airbus announces.

Luke Vader

Looks like Airbus is getting ready to drink more of Boeing’s milkshake.

Djespo

They could build at the dead Max facility

Shawn

There’s no reference to it but Quebec is a francophone society with large growing French expat populations, similar institutions, and there’s got to be a cultural comfort level for Airbus.

TonytTDK

Quebec is a bit strange….. (not intended as a bad thing.!)
The French consider Quebecers to be very ‘old-school’ in their attitudes & a bit ‘more French’ than the French themselves, who’re a bit more modern, outward-looking & more embracing of change.
The Quebecers by comparison have a reputation for wanting things to remain the same.
(A generalisation & not intended as an absolute)

Abe

The need to expand narrow body production makes a lot of sense, as both manufacturers had been looking at big monthly increases in planes produced. Given the backlog and demand (and ability to use in campaigning for more US business) the easiest option would be to expand the facilities at Mobile. The A350 story doesn’t make sense. Airbus kept production at 10/mo despite earlier plans to increase, so not sure how they would fill orders for a whole new assembly line – especially when the A380 facilities will soon become vacant. They already increased the production rate at the plant… Read more »

Gerry S

I am with you Abe. Informed individual.