DALLAS – Airbus has announced the creation of 6,000 new jobs worldwide, including 500 in Wales and 1,000 in the US.
This announcement coincides with an increase in aircraft production. Commercial aircraft production for the A320 series is on track to reach 65 aircraft per month by summer 2023.
Following a study of worldwide customer demand and an assessment of the industrial ecosystem’s readiness, the company is now collaborating with its suppliers and partners to achieve a monthly production rate of 75 aircraft by 2025.
Airbus builds A320-family planes in four locations around the world, and the company said the ramp-up would include some expansion in Mobile. The move is to ensure that all commercial aircraft assembly plants are A321-capable.
Airbus delivered its 10,000th A320 last summer. Considering total orders and deliveries, the type overtook the Boeing 737 a few years ago as the 21st century’s most popular plane.
From Broughton to Mobile
Airbus will match the increased production rates by expanding capacity at its existing manufacturing facilities in the UK. The Broughton wing assembly plant in Wales will receive £100m in facility investments. 450-550 jobs are expected to come to the Broughton plant.
In addition, Airbus plans to expand its industrial footprint in Mobile, Alabama. During an earnings call, Faury clarified that this would imply a new Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Mobile, in addition to the existing one that assembles A320 family planes and a newer one for the smaller A220 family.
Airbus says 1,000 new jobs will be created on the new line, with new training programs run by Bishop State Community College and Baldwin County public schools assisting in meeting the demand for skilled workers.
Airbus is still aiming for a first flight of the A321XLR by the end of Q2 2022. In order to meet certification standards, the entry-in-service date has been pushed back to early 2024 from the end of 2023.
Comments from Airbus Officials
On the A320 production ramp-up, Faury said, “Looking beyond 2022, we see continuing strong growth in commercial aircraft demand driven by the A320 Family. As a result, we are now working with our industry partners to increase A320 family production rates further to 75 aircraft a month in 2025. This ramp-up will benefit the aerospace industry’s global value chain.”
On the third Mobile FAL, Jeff Knittel, Airbus Americas Chairman and CEO, said, “The next step in our journey is an increase in the rate of production at Airbus for our single-aisle family … We have globally decided that we’re going to increase the rate of our 320 family to 75 airplanes… And because of that, we will build an additional Final Assembly Line right here in Mobile.”
Knittel projected a groundbreaking for the new FAL in the first quarter of 2023, with production to start in early 2025.
Featured image: Airbus Broughton Wing Assembly Plant. Photo: Airbus