Airbus has postponed plans to implement a new assembly line for the A321 in Toulouse, France. Announced in January, the proposal intended to use the A380 production plant, which is close to completing the last planes.
According to Reuters, the company will focus its activities on overcoming the coronavirus crisis. “Our plans for an A321 line in Toulouse are paused, on hold,” an Airbus spokesman confirmed to the news agency.
With many orders, especially the long-range variant A321XLR, the jet is mainly assembled in Hamburg, Germany, with some units produced in Mobile, USA. But the idleness of Toulouse, after the end of production of the A380, made Airbus decide to create a new digitally-enabled assembly line, which would later be extended to the entire A320 family.
If this scenario persists for a long time, it is not known what Airbus will do with the excess employees, causing concern in the local union, which has already expressed its opposition to the postponement of the plans. “When we see rates going up again, we will reconnect to the plans,” said the Airbus executive interviewed by Reuters.
Airbus has a backlog of more than 3,000 A321neo in addition to another 3,000 A320neo. However, with passenger air traffic plummeting worldwide, many of these orders are expected to be canceled or deferred.
EasyJet, one of Europe’s largest low-cost airlines, announced on Thursday that it will postpone the delivery of 24 A320neo jets scheduled to be received between 2020 and 2022. The British company was being pressured by its largest shareholder to cancel the order 107 planes with Airbus.