Airbus has started assembling the first A321 aircraft to be completed in Tianjin, China, after the Final Assembly Line (FAL), located in the country’s north, expanded its manufacturing capabilities.   

The facility, which first opened in 2008, will now be able to produce an additional type of aircraft, as it began assembling the largest narrow-body of the Toulouse, France-based aircraft maker on November 9, 2022. According to local media reports, the A321 in question will be delivered in early-2023. 

AeroTime contacted Airbus for a comment. 

“This is our latest step in China, showing our unwavering support for the Chinese market,” the chief executive officer of Airbus China George Xu was quoted as saying by media outlets in the country. According to Xu, the European company’s market share of commercial aircraft is more than 50%, as out of a total of 4,000 jets, 2,1000 were built by Airbus.  

"The global aviation industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, but the Chinese market has shown strong resilience," the CEO added. 

The manufacturer’s presence in the country began in 2008, as the FAL opened to bolster the production numbers of the A320 family globally, which was quickly becoming the planemaker’s most popular jet on offer. In 2017, Airbus opened another facility – the Completion and Delivery Centre (C&DC) – at first to bolster the production rate of the A330, and later, the A350. The C&DC delivered the first Airbus A350 in July 2021. 

In addition to the extra facilities in China, Airbus has also looked to expand the production of the A321 at other sites, including Toulouse and Mobile, Alabama, United States. At the French site, the manufacturer will replace the former Airbus A380 facility, while the latter has been assembling the largest member of the A320 family since April 2016. 

Airbus aims to produce 75 A320 family aircraft per month in 2025. 

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When Airbus announced that it will cease the production of the A380, questions were raised about what would happen with the FAL at Toulouse. The manufacturer announced the question, as it will introduce an A321 FAL at the same site.