Airbus expects its Mirabel A220 assembly site will have the ability to complete 10 aircraft monthly by the mid-2020s, a rate that the A220's former owner Bombardier had once intended to hit by 2020.

In addition, by the mid-2020s Airbus expects its now-under-construction A220 assembly site in Mobile will be capable of producing four aircraft monthly, according to Airbus.

Airbus clarifies it would only reach those rates, which would equate to a combined 168 aircraft annually, if supported by demand.

But the figures show that much work remains before the Mirabel site reaches its capacity of 10 aircraft per month – work that Airbus insists continues to progress.

"The ramp-up is progressing," Philippe Balducchi, chief executive of the A220 partnership, tells reporters during a media event at the company's A220 assembly site in Mirabel.

Balducchi and several colleagues stressed to reporters that Airbus is still bringing its processes and efficiencies to the Mirabel plant. Production will increase, and costs should decrease, in the coming years, they say.

The Mirabel plant's production rate remains relatively slow despite the programme being acquired by Airbus in the middle of last year. The site delivered 33 aircraft in 2018, short of Bombardier's goal, announced before the Airbus acquisition, to deliver 40 aircraft during the year.

Airbus, to its credit, had not disclosed a 2018 A220 production goal.

The company has also not set a 2019 production goal, saying only that it expects to deliver more A220s this year than last.

Airbus' estimate that Mirabel could produce 10 aircraft monthly by the mid-2020s follows several years during which Bombardier had publicly stated an expectation to reach that rate by 2020.

Then there is the question of whether demand would even support a combined Mirabel-Mobile production rate of 168 aircraft annually by the middle of next decade.

Airbus held orders for 537 A220s at the end of 2018, according to its own figures. But, some of those orders might be less than guaranteed, including 40 A220-300s still on the books for Republic Airways. Those orders have been viewed as uncertain by industry observers following Republic's restructuring and bankruptcy proceeding.

But Airbus has seen some recent sales momentum, having firmed deals late last year to sell 60 A220-300s to JetBlue Airways and 60 of the same type to a prospective startup led by JetBlue and Azul founder David Neeleman.

Source: Cirium Dashboard