Airbus Builds Second A320neo Assembly Line in Ex-A380 Building

By Spyros Georgilidakis | June 7, 2024

Airbus continues to work on increasing its production output for the A320neo family, by replacing its oldest A320 assembly line in Toulouse.

Did you know that Airbus built its first-ever A320 assembly line in the same historic building in Toulouse where the Concorde was assembled? Not only that, but that assembly line is still in use today.

Concorde, on its first-ever flight. Photo: City of Toulouse, CC BY-SA 4.0

And that has been a problem for some time now, because Airbus hasn’t been able to modernize this Final Assembly Line (FAL), to the same standard as its newer FALs. Well, as it turns out, Airbus is going to replace this line instead.

Plenty of Space

In 2021, just after Airbus finished making the last ever A380, it prepared the enormous building in Toulouse where the A380 FAL was, for conversion into an A321neo FAL. The longer A321 needs more space than the A320 for its assembly.

Photo: Tim Dennert

Until that change, the only Airbus assembly line in Europe capable of handling the A321 was in Hamburg, Germany. Increasing production capacity for the A321 was necessary because of a dramatic shift in demand towards the larger aircraft, which is easily outselling the A320neo and A319neo combined.

Obviously, the space necessary to assemble the A380 was many times what a line for an Airbus A320 takes up. So now, the European manufacturer is setting up a second, new A320 FAL in the same building.

Airbus Builds Second A320neo Assembly Line in Ex-A380 Building
Photo: Airbus

This line will finally replace the old A320 FAL, helping Airbus improve the speed and efficiency of its manufacturing. It should become operational in 2025, and the old and new FALs will briefly operate in parallel, during the transition.

The A380 Assembly Line In The Future

It is unclear if the new FAL in the A380 building will also be able to handle the A321neo, or if there is space to upgrade it to that size in the future. In any case, there is space in that building for more FALs, should this become necessary.

Airbus Builds Second A320neo Assembly Line in Ex-A380 Building
Photo: Airbus

Airbus has 10 FALs for the A320neo family in France, Germany, China, and the United States. To keep up with orders, it wants to reach a monthly production rate of 75 A320neo-family jets by 2026. Lengthy delivery times are causing Airbus to lose some single-aisle aircraft orders to Boeing.

At the same time, Airbus needs to think about what single-aisle aircraft it will be producing in the longer term. Rising demand for the more modern A220 could see Airbus building an assembly line for it in Europe. Plus, newer engine technology, like the CFM RISE, could generate demand for a more efficient Airbus single-aisle.

Airbus Builds Second A320neo Assembly Line in Ex-A380 Building
Photo: Airbus

That aircraft will probably enter service sometime in the second half of the 2030s. Whenever it comes, Airbus will have to find space for its assembly line, without slowing down A320 production too much, or too early.


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