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Airbus: Conditions not yet met for US assembly line

Airbus insists that there are conditions which would need to be met before it could consider a possible production line in the USA.

It says that "no final decision" has been taken regarding a potential final assembly line in Alabama - a proposal which has loosely been termed 'FALabama' and which would probably cater for the A320 and A320neo.

While Airbus already has a presence at Mobile, it says there are "conditions which would have to be met for such a [final assembly] concept to be implemented".

"This isn't the case right now," it adds, but declines to elaborate on the nature of the conditions.

Airbus parent EADS's outgoing chief financial officer Hans-Peter Ring stated during a first-quarter earnings briefing in May that there were "certainly contacts" in Alabama - particularly since EADS's participation in the US Air Force tanker tender - but "not more than that" at the time. If it had won the KC-X contract it intended to begin assembly of A330 freighters on the site, alongside the A330-derived tanker.

But Airbus, which already has a Chinese A320 assembly line, has been looking at production options given the demand for the type and, notably, its re-engined A320neo successor.

Airbus is committing to raising narrowbody production to 42 aircraft per month but has wrestled with the supply-chain problems associated with a further hike.

A US line would not only provide additional capacity, and near-term slots, but could assist Airbus with North American campaigns.

Mobile is the site of an Airbus engineering centre which carries out cabin interior and cargo design work for aircraft including the A330, A380 and the new A350.

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