Airbus Toulouse will get an extra production and final assembly line for the A321neo, the company has announced on January 21. The additional capacity should relieve the current assembly facilities in Hamburg, which face great difficulty in coping with demand for the A321neo. Finding additional capacity has been top-priority for the company for a while.

The new A321neo line will be incorporated in the Jean-Luc Lagardere-complex which will be use for final assembly of the A380 until early 2021 (see main picture of final assembly of an Etihad A380). Last February, Airbus announced it will end production of the doubledecker after Emirates reduced its orders for the program by 79 aircraft (39 cancelations, 20 firm orders plus 20 options not taken up).

The Lagardere-complex was specifically built for the A380 in 2004, costing EUR 360 million. The 490x250x46 meters complex is the largest building at Toulouse Blagnac and consists of various stations to cater for the different assembly stages of the A380. Only a handful of frames will be assembled here in the coming months.

Airbus will update the complex to include automated production and assembly of the A321neo, copying the new robotized production lines that have been introduced in Hamburg last year. Here, robots assemble fuselage sections in one hall while in FAL4 more robots mate the barrels to form a single fuselage.

Airbus doesn’t say how much total production capacity of the A321neo will increase once the new line is in full swing, but the airframer targets rate 63 per month in 2021 for the entire A320neo production up from the latest rate of 53 a month last year. As reported here before, A321neo production has been running much lower than planned since the introduction of the Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) configuration in 2018. This has been caused by the wide variation in cabin versions as well as technical issues with cabin sections. Airbus might have been caught out by the huge popularity of the A321LR and A321XLR, the latter launched last summer at the Paris Airshow that will be available from 2023. The A321neo orderbook currently counts 3.255, of which 290 were delivered by January 1.

Airbus expects to cope with demand for the A319neo/A320neo/A321neo-family by raising production in Mobile from 5 to 7 a month and 6 in Tianjin.

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