LONDON – Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has this week unveiled plans to begin assembling its A321 variant single-aisle aircraft at its final assembly line (FAL) in Tianjin, China. The plant that opened in 2008 originally did so to focus on A320 production.
“The commissioning of the first A321 aircraft underlines Airbus’ commitment to China, marking a new milestone in the industrial cooperation with our Chinese partners.” said George Xu, Airbus Executive Vice President and Airbus China CEO.
When the Tianjin plant opened, it was a milestone for the company as it was the first one to do so that was outside of Europe. Since this inauguration, it has assembled more than six hundred A320 aircraft.
Work commenced on adapting the FAL during August 2022, and the forecast is that the first A321 to roll off the production line will be available for delivery to customer in early 2023.
Tianjin will be joining in with the rest of its worldwide counterparts in Hamburg, Toulouse and Mobile (Alabama) by being made A321 capable, and it is Airbus’ goal to have all of its final assembly plants able to service this variant by the end of 2022.
Enabling all of its worldwide FAL’s in production of the longer range jet makes up part of Airbus industrial strategy. In doing this it will help reduce the risk, and increase the share as Airbus cranks up its single-aisle production over the coming years, in line with its forecasts. With over 8,500 A320/A321 open orders, there is a lot of production to share around all of the final assembly sites.
George Xu continued: “Since we announced our plans to expand the capability of FAL Tianjin to A321 production last November, I am proud that the Airbus Tianjin team has successfully completed the relevant adaptation work on schedule by working closely with European experts and our suppliers to overcome the impact of COVID-19.”
The Airbus A321 boasts a maximum capacity of 244 seated passengers and an 8,700km range it uses its status as the longest and widest fuselage in its single aisle family, favourably. Airlines are ever more frequently striving to reduce their carbon emissions, and ordering the A321neo can help service their requirements.
It offers an improvement of 20% on fuel efficiency and CO2, and incorporates the newest, most economical engines and sharklets, both of which can contribute favourably to fuel consumption.
With China forecast to need over 8,000 passenger and cargo aircraft over the next 20 years, a move such as this from one of the biggest plane makers in the world, can only help support relations between Airbus and the aviation industry in China.
These plans were announced at the Zhuhai Airshow, along with the signing of multiple cooperation agreements, and memorandum’s of understanding on aftermarket services with its Chinese partners. The agreements have been struck to cover maintenance services, cabin seat solutions and material services.
Airbus is actively engaged in seeking new Chinese partners to cooperate on new aftermarket projects with, and considers itself a key stakeholder in China’s growing aviation industry.