New A321 Assembly Line Put On Pause By Airbus

Airbus has put its plans to build a new A321 assembly line in Toulouse on hold. The company had been hoping to repurpose its A380 assembly line as the manufacture of the giant of the skies comes to an end.

Airbus, A321 Manufacture, Toulouse
Airbus will hold off on its plans for a new A321 construction facility in Toulouse. Photo: Getty Images

Earlier this week, Simple Flying reported that Airbus would be reducing the rate of new aircraft being built, as a result of the current crisis in the aviation industry. As such, there is no need for extra manufacturing capacity. The manufacturer had been planning to convert its A380 assembly line to build A321s. However, this plan has now been ‘shelved’ according to Reuters.

Not scrapped

It’s important to point out that the plans to turn the A380 assembly line into one for the Airbus A321 have not been scrapped. Instead, they have been placed on pause for the time being.

Clearly, if Airbus is expecting that demand for new aircraft will not be as great over the coming months, it won’t need to make as many. This is why it has cut its estimated production rate of A320 family aircraft production to 40 per month. It can comfortably produce this number of aircraft with its current facilities, so it makes no sense to add capacity at this time.

Airbus factory Mobile
Airbus has paused aircraft manufacture at its US Mobile site. Photo: Getty

However, once demand begins to pick up again, it remains an option for Airbus to utilize this space. An Airbus spokesperson told Simple Flying:

“Our plans for an A321 line in Toulouse are paused, on hold. When we see rates going up again, we will reconnect to the plans. At present we stay with the two lines as they are – preserving cash.”

Empty space

Airbus is currently in the process of winding down the manufacture of the Airbus A380. Last year on Valentine’s day, the European aerospace giant pulled the plug on the A380 project. Now, only nine are left to be delivered, one for Japanese carrier ANA, and the other eight for Emirates.

Air France Airbus A380, KLM Boeing 747, Grounded
Airbus has just nine A380s left to deliver. Photo: Getty Images

Once these have been delivered to the company, the Airbus A380 manufacturing line in Toulouse will remain empty for the time being. Airbus has already shipped the final components to the site in order to build the last A380.

Hopefully, the building will make aircraft once more once the current situation has passed. However, when exactly this will be is currently anybody’s guess with some airline CEOs saying that pre-crisis travel levels won’t be reached again until 2023.

One thing is for certain, however. Airlines are already looking to retire the giants that were once built on this site around 10 years ago. Most recently Lufthansa made the decision to decommission six.

When do you think Airbus will start building A321s on the new line in Toulouse? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.