Airbus - International Manufacturing Presence

International Manufacturing Presence

Airbus has several final assembly lines for different models and markets. These are:

  • Hamburg, Germany (A320 series)
  • Seville, Spain (A400M)
  • Tianjin, China (A320 series).
  • Toulouse, France (A320, A330, A340, A380)

Airbus, however, has a number of other plants in different European locations, reflecting its foundation as a consortium. An original solution to the problem of moving aircraft parts between the different factories and the assembly plants is the use of "Beluga" specially enlarged jets, capable of carrying entire sections of fuselage of Airbus aircraft. This solution has also been investigated by Boeing, who retrofitted 3 of their 747 aircraft to transport the components of the 787. An exception to this scheme is the A380, whose fuselage and wings are too large for sections to be carried by the Beluga. Large A380 parts are brought by ship to Bordeaux, and then transported to the Toulouse assembly plant by the Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit, a specially enlarged waterway and road route.

Airbus opened an assembly plant in Tianjin, People's Republic of China for its A320 series airliners in 2009. Airbus started constructing a $350 million component manufacturing plant in Harbin, China in July 2009, which will employ 1,000 people. Scheduled to be operated by the end of 2010, the 30,000 square meter plant will manufacture composite parts and assemble composite work-packages for the A350 XWB, A320 families and future Airbus programs. Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Corporation, Hafei Aviation Industry Company Ltd, AviChina Industry & Technology Company and other Chinese partners hold the 80 percent stake of the plant while Airbus control the remaining 20 percent.

North America is an important region to Airbus in terms of both aircraft sales and suppliers. 2,000 of the total of approximately 5,300 Airbus jetliners sold by Airbus around the world, representing every aircraft in its product line from the 107-seat A318 to the 565-passenger A380, are ordered by North American customers. According to Airbus, US contractors, supporting an estimated 120,000 jobs, earned an estimated $5.5 billion (2003) worth of business. For example, one version of the A380 has 51% American content in terms of work share value.

Plans for a Mobile, Alabama aircraft assembly plant were formally announced by Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier from the Mobile Convention Center on 2 July 2012. The plans include a $600 million factory at the Brookley Aeroplex for the assembly of the A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. It could employ up to 1,000 full-time workers when operational. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013, with it becoming operable by 2015 and producing up to 50 aircraft per year by 2017.

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