Airbus Struggling To Increase A220 Production

By Spyros Georgilidakis | June 12, 2024

Airbus is in talks with its workers in Mirabel, Quebec (Canada) to institute mandatory weekend overtime, to catch up on A220 production.

We have already seen that the European manufacturer is planning to expand its production of the A320neo family, to meet increasing demand. But Airbus also wants to boost production of the A220.

Airbus Struggling To Increase A220 Production
Photo: Lukas Souza

Despite its popularity with airlines and passengers, the A220 still isn’t profitable for Airbus. This is in part because of its low production rate. The manufacturer is trying to address this both by renegotiating supplier contracts and by streamlining its own assembly sites.

Airbus has built a second A220 final assembly line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama, where it also has two A321neo FALs. Since taking over the A220 (initially the CSeries) from Bombardier, it has also changed some assembly processes to reduce build times.

Photo: Tim in Boston

Airbus A220 Production and Profitability

However, Airbus wants to increase its A220 output, from the current level of 6-8 aircraft per month to 14, across the Mirabel and Mobile sites. That’s by 2026, with longer-term goals for over 20 A220s per month – something that will likely require further investment.

Airbus Struggling To Increase A220 Production
Photo: Alf van Beem

One reason why Airbus A220 output has fallen behind in recent months was the negotiations that Airbus made with its machinists union in Mirabel. That deal eventually concluded with a new contract last May.

To catch up, Airbus wants to negotiate a further deal for weekend mandatory overtime, with the Mirabel workers at the primary A220 production site. It is not clear if Airbus wants this as a temporary measure, or as a long-term strategy.

Photo: Daniel Shapiro

The A220 has been “stealing” some orders from Airbus’ mainstay A320neo. Airbus could eventually produce an A220 variant that’s even longer than the A220-300, which will better stand up against the 737 MAX-8 and the Airbus A320neo.

However, Airbus has no reason to make such a move if A220 production isn’t profitable. A monthly output of 14 A220s is necessary for this. But Airbus also has to address further issues, like the profitability of the A220 wing production facility in Belfast, N. Ireland – once it acquires it from Spirit AeroSystems.


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