Tag Archives: Airbus

Airbus to add A321 production capabilities in Toulouse

Airbus has made this announcement:

Following its strategy to keep its overall production system at the leading edge of technology and to increase industrial capacity and flexibility, Airbus has decided to create new A321 production capabilities at its site in Toulouse.

By mid-2022 the current A380 Lagardère facility in Toulouse will accommodate a digitally-enabled A321 line as a step to modernise the A320 production system in Toulouse. The new facilities will provide more flexibility for A321 production, while keeping the overall single-aisle industrial capacity in Toulouse flat.

“We are enjoying an unprecedented high demand for our winning A320neo Family and especially its A321 Long Range (LR) and Xtra Long Range (XLR) derivatives,” said Michael Schoellhorn, Airbus Chief Operating Officer. “In order to optimise the industrial flow, we have decided to increase our global A321 production capacity and flexibility as well as to establish a next generation Final Assembly Line in Toulouse.”

Currently, the only European Final Assembly Line to assemble A321s is at Airbus’ Hamburg site. In addition, the A321 is also being assembled and delivered from Mobile, Alabama, USA.

Toulouse was selected for several reasons such as: overall competitiveness, time to market, investment cost, available floor space and resources. The decision has been communicated to Airbus’ social partners.

The A320neo Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle with over 7,100 aircraft sold to over 110 customers. Within this family, the A321XLR is the latest evolutionary step which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. From 2023, it will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm and a 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor aircraft. For passengers, the A321XLR’s new Airspace cabin will provide the best travel experience, while offering seats in all classes with the same high-comfort as on a long-haul wide-body, with the low costs of a single-aisle aircraft.

Airbus begins deliveries of first A350s with touchscreen cockpit displays option

Airbus has made this announcement:

Airbus has commenced deliveries to airlines of the first A350s equipped with pioneering new touchscreen cockpit displays. Specially developed for the A350 together with Thales, they will confer enhanced operational efficiencies, greater crew interaction, cockpit symmetry and smoother information management. On 18th December China Eastern Airlines took delivery in Toulouse of the first A350 equipped with the new devices. To date, around 20 airlines have selected the option for their new A350s.

Of the A350 cockpit’s six large screens, three can now become touch capable: the two outer displays plus the lower-centre display. These displays now offer touchscreen capability for the pilots when presenting Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications. This new method of input complements the existing physical keyboard integrated into the retractable table in front of each pilot and also the keyboard & trackball “keyboard-cursor control unit” (KCCU) located on the centre console.

The new technology, which was recently certified for the A350 by EASA in November, facilitates ‘pinch-zooming’ and panning gestures and will facilitate more flexibility and better interaction between both pilots, particularly during these scenarios: (a) before take-off (for computing take-off performance while entering data into the flight management system “FMS”); (b) in-flight/cruise (for accessing en-route navigation charts); and (c) during approach preparation (for consulting the terminal charts before entering FMS data). Moreover, during high workload phases of flight, the touchscreen capability reduces need for pilots to make multiple cursor inputs and avoids them having to flip between different displays when using the EFB applications collaboratively on the lower centre display.

Patrick Piedrafita, Head of Airbus’ A350 XWB Programme said: “Airbus continues to set the industry trends in aircraft cockpit design with these new interactive touchscreen displays in the A350. With our partner Thales we are very proud to bring this technology to our customers, to enhance their aircrews’ operations.”

The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, a carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these features translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions. By the end of November, the A350 XWB Family had received 959 firm orders from 51 customers.

Airbus and China reinforce long-standing partnership

Airbus issued this press release:

Airbus and China are strengthening their long-standing partnership as both sides commit to a further deepening and broadening of cooperation in the aviation industry.

A Memorandum of Understanding on the Further Development of Industrial Cooperation was signed in Beijing by He Lifeng, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China and Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and visiting French President Emmanuel Macron.

According to the MoU, both sides have agreed to take practical and effective measures for new initiatives regarding both Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft. As part of Airbus’ objective to reach a global A320 Family production rate of 63 aircraft per month in 2021, the Airbus Tianjin A320 Family Final Assembly Line (FAL Asia) remains on track to ramp up its production to six aircraft per month by the end of 2019, which is a 50% increase compared to its original design. A350 XWB capabilities will be extended into the Airbus Tianjin wide-body Completion and Delivery Centre (C&DC) from the second half of 2020. The C&DC is scheduled to deliver its first A350 aircraft by 2021 from Tianjin.

“We attach great importance to our long-term strategic partnership with China and its aviation industry,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “Airbus is committed to serving this growth sector with the diverse portfolio it has to offer and we are committed to working with our Chinese partners to shape the future of the industry.”

The potential of China’s aviation market is huge: while China domestic is set to become the world’s largest market, international traffic to and from China has nearly doubled over the last 10 years. According to the Airbus Global Market Forecast, China is expected to require some 7,560 new aircraft over the next 20 years.

In both Airbus’ single-aisle and widebody aircraft programmes, cooperation is well established. In single-aisle, the FAL Asia has been successfully operating for over a decade since its inauguration in September 2008. To date, 450 A320 Family aircraft have been delivered from Tianjin to Airbus’ Chinese and Asian customers since.

In twin-aisle aircraft, the first Airbus’ widebody centre outside Europe, the C&DC – inaugurated in September 2017 – has successfully performed A330 aircraft completion activities including cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer acceptance and aircraft delivery. The A350 XWB, one of the most successful widebodied aircraft ever, has garnered 913 firm orders from 51 customers worldwide.

Air Austral orders three Airbus A220-300s

Air Austral, France’s Réunion Island-based airline, has signed a firm order for three A220 aircraft, Airbus’ newest family member. With this order Air Austral becomes the first A220 customer based in the Indian Ocean region. Benefiting from a 20% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, the A220s will enable Air Austral to reduce its costs and carbon footprint on international routes in the region.

The design of the new clean sheet single-aisle aircraft allows for more seats, offering extra revenue potential to airlines, especially to those located in remote areas, and extra usable cargo volume capacity.

The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and widebody passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least a 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft, along with significantly lower emissions and a reduced noise footprint. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft.

The A220 had an order book of over 500 aircraft at the end of September 2019.

Photos: Airbus.

Airbus marks its 1,000th A320neo Family aircraft delivery

Airbus has delivered the 1,000th A320neo Family aircraft. The aircraft, an A321neo produced in Hamburg, Germany, was delivered to Indian airline IndiGo.

IndiGo is the world’s biggest customer for the A320neo Family with orders totaling 430 aircraft. Since its first NEO was delivered in March 2016, its fleet of A320neo Family has grown into the world’s largest with 96 aircraft operating alongside 129 A320s. In an extremely competitive aviation market, the fuel efficient A320 Family has been instrumental in IndiGo’s rise to become India’s largest airline by fleet size and passenger numbers.

The A320neo Family is assembled at Airbus’ four global sites: Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, USA. The world’s first A320neo was delivered in January 2016 and the programme has achieved milestones every year since: the first A321neo in 2017; the first A321LR in 2018 and the launch of the A321XLR in 2019.

The A320neo program was designed with fuel efficiency in mind. Building on the A320ceo’s popularity, the aircraft delivers 20% reduced fuel burn as well as 50% less noise compared to previous generation aircraft. Seating up to 240 passengers, depending on cabin configuration, the A320neo Family features the widest single aisle cabin in the sky and incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets. At the end of September 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,660 firm orders from close to 110 customers worldwide.

Photos; Airbus.

Airbus reiterates call for talks to reduce trade tensions

Airbus has made this announcement:

Airbus SE notes the decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the level of countermeasures it authorizes the United States to impose on products from the European Union (EU). If the United States Trade Representative (USTR) chooses to impose tariffs on the importation of aircraft and/or aircraft components, this will create insecurity and disruption not only to the aerospace industry, but also to the broader global economy. Yet it is still avoidable.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury stated: “Airbus will continue working with its US partners, customers and suppliers, to address all potential consequences of such tariffs that would be a barrier against free trade and would have a negative impact on not only the US airlines but also US jobs, suppliers, and air travelers. Airbus is therefore hopeful that the US and the EU will agree to find a negotiated solution before creating serious damage to the aviation industry as well as to trade relations and the global economy.”

In the coming months, the WTO will determine the amount of tariff countermeasures the EU can impose on US products – including imported Boeing aircraft – in the parallel counter case regarding illegal subsidies to Boeing. The WTO has already found that the US failed to address illegal subsidies causing harm to Airbus. This will provide the EU with grounds to claim countermeasures on US products at a level that could exceed US sanctions.

If applied, these tariffs on both sides will severely impact US and EU industries, putting high costs on the acquisition of new aircraft for both US and EU airlines. Aviation is a global industry. Evidence of that is the fact that close to 40 percent of Airbus’ aircraft-related procurement comes from US aerospace suppliers. This US supply chain supports 275,000 American jobs in 40 states through spending that has totaled $50 billion in the last three years alone. If tariffs are applied, the entire global industry will be harmed.

The only way to prevent the negative effects of these tariff would be for the US and EU to find a resolution to this long-running dispute through a negotiated settlement. Airbus continues to encourage the US Administration and the European Commission to find a settlement to this dispute, and thereby preserve the free, fair competition and open trade that have proven beneficial to the public and essential for a successful and growing global aviation industry.

Airbus inaugurates new A320 structure assembly line in Hamburg

Airbus has inaugurated its highly automated fuselage structure assembly line for A320 Family aircraft in Hamburg, showcasing an evolution in Airbus’ industrial production system.

With a special focus on manufacturing longer sections for the A321LR, the new facility features 20 robots, a new logistics concept, automated positioning by laser measurement as well as a digital data acquisition system. These will further support Airbus’ drive to improve both quality and efficiency while bringing an enhanced level of digitalisation to its industrial production system.

“By embracing some of the latest technologies and processes, Airbus has begun its journey to set new standards in A320 Family production. This new fuselage structure assembly line is an essential enabler for the A320 Family ramp-up. Increasing the level of automation and robotics enables faster, more efficient manufacturing while keeping our prime focus on quality,” said Michael Schoellhorn, Airbus Chief Operating Officer. “Given the enormous success of the A320 Family and the order backlog, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure our production system can match the excellence of our products and that we are able to satisfy our customers’ needs for our single-aisle aircraft.” He added: “A high level of trust and investment has been placed in our people and factories in Hamburg. We now need to deliver in line with our commitments made to customers while ensuring overall competitiveness.”

For the initial section assembly, Airbus is using a modular, lightweight automated system, called “Flextrack”, with eight robots drilling and counter-sinking 1,100 to 2,400 holes per longitudinal joint. In the next production step, 12 robots, each operating on seven axes, combine the centre and aft fuselage sections with the tail to form one major component, drilling, counter-sinking, sealing and inserting 3,000 rivets per orbital joint.

Besides the use of robots, Airbus is also implementing new methods and technologies in material and parts logistics to optimise production, improve ergonomics and shorten lead times. This includes the separation of logistics and production levels, demand-oriented material replenishment as well as the use of autonomous guided vehicles.

The Hamburg structure assembly facility is responsible for joining single fuselage shells into sections, as well as final assembly of single sections to aircraft fuselages. Aircraft parts are equipped with electrical and mechanical systems before eventually being delivered to the final assembly lines in France, Germany, China and the U.S.

Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the efficient A320neo Family which includes the A321, incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver more than 15% fuel and CO2 savings from day one and 20% by 2020 as well as a 50% noise reduction. To date, the A320neo Family has captured more than 6,500 orders from over 100 customers.

Photo: Airbus.