Earlier, we had reported on Airbus closing down their completion facility in Tianjin, near Beijing, China due to the Novel coronavirus scare. However, just last week, the Chinese authorities have given Airbus the go-ahead to restart the facility. In statement issued on February 11, 2020, the company said that its Airbus China division has been authorised by the Chinese government to gradually increase production, whilst implementing all required health and safety measures for Airbus employees, which remains the top priority.
Airbus said in a statement:
‘Airbus China is observing Chinese Government requirements and has been authorised by the Chinese authorities to restart operations of the Tianjin Final Assembly Line’.
As of date, the coronavirus has taken more than 1600 lives in China, and more than 70000 are infected. While more cases of virus infections are reported, is it a bit too soon for Airbus to restart the facility? Technology giant Apple, which had also closed down its assembly plant in China, restarted their operations last week, only to see less than 10% people return to work. While assembly lines and completion plants form the backbone of the heavy machines industry, shutting them even for a few days usually leads a logistical havoc for weeks. So, it is not surprising to see Airbus in a hurry to restart their Tianjin plant.
Production at Airbus Tianjin resumes gradually. Image Credits: AINOnline
After Airbus reported a global loss of more than a billion US dollars, it was natural for the company to be aggressive and take all possible steps to boost their production. The Tianjin facility produces 6 aircraft per month, and is mainly targeted towards the A320 and A321 aircraft. For now, the plant operations shall resume gradually, and it will not be until at least a month for it to be operating at full capacity.
As Boeing is knee deep in trouble following the 737MAX debacle, restarting the Tianjin plant seems to be a part of Airbus’ strategy to capitalise on the single aisle market with full vigour.