Airbus temporarily closes final assembly line in China

Airbus A320 final assembly line in Tianjin. Photo: © Airbus

Airbus has temporarily closed its final assembly line (FAL) in Tianjin, China, amid the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak that has already affected air travel in the country.

This was stated by the Europe-based aircraft manufacturer in a short update published on Wednesday morning.

The company says that it is “closely monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus situation” and is regularly updating its employees on the matter.

Airbus China is observing Chinese Government requirements for staff to work from home and is facilitating with IT equipment so employees from all locations including Tianjin do not need to travel to work where possible.Airbus

These measures are likely to affect Airbus’ output of A320 family aircraft. The aircraft manufacturer only recently increased the output of its 2008-opened Tianjin FAL, which is one of four sites in the world building the A320, from four to six aircraft per month. Airbus’ objective was to increase the total production of A320s from all its global assembly lines to 63 per month in 2021.

Other final assembly lines for the aircraft family are located in Hamburg (Germany), Toulouse (France) and Mobile (Alabama, United States). Hamburg is currently building the largest share of A320 family aircraft.

Furthermore, Airbus operates a ‘completion and delivery center’ (C&DC) for the A330 at its Tianjin facility, which is planned to extend its capabilities onto the A350 family.

The site in China, including the A320 FAL, is a joint venture between the European company and a consortium consisting of Tianjin Free Trade Zone and China Aviation Industry Corporation.

Travel restrictions resulting from the Coronavirus are also posing ‘some logistical challenges’, Airbus says in its statement.

Over the past days and weeks, more and more airlines and countries had decided to suspend flights to mainland China over fears that the virus could spread.

Airbus is expected to publish further updates on the situation and its response.