The new line supplements other A320 production facilities in Toulouse, France; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, Alabama.
It will contribute towards Airbus’s output goal of 60 A320s per month from mid-2019 and, Airbus hopes, further increases of 70-plus aircraft per month from 2022.
“The inauguration of our latest, most modern A320 production line opens a new chapter in efficient, digital aircraft manufacturing,” said Airbus Commercial Aircraft president Guillaume Faury.
“With these new technologies we are building our aircraft more efficiently, a key enabler for higher production rates,“ he added.
Airbus believes that its A320 backlog of roughly 6,000 aircraft can easily support several years of production at higher rates than those already confirmed.
However, several key suppliers, notably engine manufacturers CFM and Pratt & Whitney, have cautioned about rushing towards rates above 60-63 aircraft per month.
“Is there enough capacity of the supply chain that you’re not going to see can see big bottlenecks?” Greg Hayes, CEO of P&W parent United Technologies, said earlier this year.
His opposite number at French company Safran – one half of the CFM alliance – has said it is too early to decide upon further increases
“I will feel a lot more secure to make a decision regarding a rate of 70 aircraft per month in the beginning of 2019 than today,” said Philippe Petitcolin, CEO of Safran, earlier this year.
“I think it would be foolish to do that today because we are still in the ramp-up and we are not 100% sure that our supply chain will be able to sustain such a rate,” he added.
The aircraft family is already projected to generate a large proportion of global MRO spend over the next decade to the tune of $252 billion according to Aviation Week’s Fleet & MRO Forecast.
Data suggests 37% of this spend will come from components work, followed by engine maintenance (31%) and line maintenance (17%).
Source : MRO Network