Airbus is to dual-source fuselage sections for the A321 to prepare for a ramp-up in production of the type, which it expects will account for half of its future single-aisle production.
Alenia manufactures the fuselage barrel for the type but Airbus executive vice-president for programmes Tom Williams says EADS's Sogerma division has been recruited for similar work.
Airbus has contracted with Sogerma to build the forward section 14A for the A321, one of two additional structures specific to the aircraft, at its Rochefort plant. The site will accommodate the manufacturing work from the first half of 2014.
"It's in the process of becoming fully up and running," says Williams.
He says the investment is "in place" to enable the airframer to raise the production rate of A321s from 15 per month to 18.
A321s undergo final assembly at Airbus's Hamburg facility but it also intends to build the twinjets at its new US plant in Mobile, Alabama. "We hope there'll be good demand," says Williams.
Airbus executive vice-president Kiran Rao said in early June that he expects half of all A320-family production to migrate to the A321, which will be re-engined as the A321neo.
The airframer is developing a new fuselage design for the A321neo which will give carriers the option of higher seating capacity.
While Airbus builds A320s at its Tianjin plant in China, the Station 40 point in the line would have to be modified - a process which would take several weeks - to accommodate the tooling to deal with the A321's differing wing. There is no indication that such a modification is planned.