Airbus announced its plans to further increase the productivity rate in its manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama (United States). The manufacturer will build seven Airbus A320 family aircraft per month in the facility starting early-2021, as it aims to boost the monthly production of its most popular aircraft to 63.

Consequently, the facility will welcome a $40 million investment from the European company and create 275 additional jobs, notes the press release issued by the aircraft manufacturer. Combined with the planned production rate increase of the former-CSeries aircraft, the A220, Airbus plans to dish out 130 jets per year for customers.

Increasing demand

While its Seattle-based rival Boeing is struggling to contain the 737 MAX crisis, Airbus became the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, as the European company completed 863 aircraft throughout 2019, reported Reuters at the beginning of 2020.

Airbus shipped 800 aircraft to customers and logged 831 new gross orders in 2018. In November 2019 it already logged 940 gross orders for its planes, excluding cancelations. The company’s most attractive product became the A321XLR, launched during the Paris Air Show in June 2019.

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When the Paris Air Show opened its doors, airline executives got very excited. Airbus finally announced the successor to the 757 - the Airbus A321XLR. Read more:
 

Following the announcement, airlines signed up for 440 A321neo family aircraft, by far the most popular jet in the manufacturer’s lineup in 2019. Since December 1, 2019, Airbus racked up several additional orders for the XLR that are not yet present in the company’s Orders and Deliveries data: a firm order of 10 aircraft from the Chile-based low-cost carrier SKY and 50 from the world’s third-biggest airline, United Airlines.

Nevertheless, Airbus had its fair share of struggles throughout 2019 as well, including A320neo family delivery delays and the production cancelation of its iconic double-decker the A380.

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Just as Airbus revealed having increased its production rates in the first half of 2019, particularly ramping-up production of the A320 Family aircraft, increasing delivery rates for the same time period have set the manufacturer on course to beat those of rival Boeing by the end of 2019. However, the task to keep up with production targets and delivery rates poses a challenge, as some customers share their frustration over delays.
 

Spicy politics

At the same time, the press release announcing the production increase at Alabama puts a very heavy emphasis on the company‘s presence in the United States:

“Airbus has extensive presence throughout the U.S.,” employing more than 4,000 people in facilities across the country and “has spent nearly $50 billion in the U.S. with more than 450 U.S. suppliers, supporting more than 275,000 American jobs.”

Just a month ago, on December 2, 2019, Airbus publicly stated that $7.5 billion tariffs, imposed by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and given the all-clear by the World Trade Organization (WTO), should be reduced by around $2 billion, citing the cancellation of the Airbus A380 production.

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In a new development of a decade long dispute, the World Trade Organization (WTO) officially authorized the United States to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion of imports from the European Union because of subsidies granted to Airbus. The European Commission urges Washington to start negotiations and reach a settlement instead.