Airbus Suspends Production At Some Sites

The Mobile, Alabama suspension will begin later this week and last until April 29.
Credit: Airbus

Airbus decided April 6 to suspend production and aircraft at some of its facilities, most importantly the A220 and A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama.

Airbus said the decision was taken “in response to several factors related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic including high inventory levels in the sites and the various government recommendations and requirements which impact at different stages of the overall industrial production flow.”

The Mobile suspension will begin later this week and last until April 29. Some activities will continue including building and aircraft maintenance, product safety and customer operations. Mobile will also continue to receive parts and components.

In combination with the temporary closure of Airbus Canada’s Mirabel facility the decision to stop production in Mobile means that the manufacturer is currently no longer assembling A220s. According to Aviation Week Fleet Data Services, Airbus delivered only eight A220s in the first quarter.

The complex Airbus production system has been hit at various points and in various geographies over the past few weeks. Initially, only the Chinese New Year holidays at its Tianjin plant were extended. Later, more facilities in Spain and France including the Toulouse final assembly lines were stopped for four days and reopened to production at a significantly reduced pace. 

Airbus said it “remains committed to meeting customer demand”—which at this point is essentially non-existent as airlines and lessors aim at delaying capital expenditures.

Now the German sites in Stade and Bremen are also affected. In addition, commercial aircraft wing production and components manufacture in the UK and Spain have already been suspended because of the high stock levels and government restrictions.

Airbus competitor Boeing decided April 5 to suspend aircraft production in the Puget Sound area and at Moses Lake, Washington, “until further notice.” 

Jens Flottau

Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Jens is executive editor and leads Aviation Week Network’s global team of journalists covering commercial aviation.