Airbus has made history by delivering its newest A321neo to Pegasus Airlines, a Turkish airline looking to grow its fleet.
Delivery of the aircraft represents a new era for the plane maker as it looks to boost production into the future of the A320 family.
A New Final Assembly Line Arrives
The Airbus A321neo being delivered was assembled at the newly created A320 Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France.
Airbus’s latest FAL was previously home to the A380, the Jean-Luc Lagardère building. A switch towards the A320 family comes as it looks to respond to industry trends and meet new demand.
Ultimately, Airbus would end production of the A380 series in 2021 and, as a result, needed to determine what would be done with the substantial space on offer. Utilising the space to help produce their most popular series of aircraft was the logical choice.
The Final Assembly Line was announced towards the beginning of 2020. However, overall plans on meeting initial forecasts for delivery were missed due to the emergence of the global pandemic.
Airbus says that the plane maker will increase production thanks to the ramp-up witnessed in Toulouse. However, this ramp-up will be aided by other FAL halls in Germany, China and the United States. The current objective should see Airbus producing 75 A320 Family aircraft every month by 2026.
Airbus Enjoys Success With The A321neo
Thus far, the A321neo has been the best-selling aircraft throughout 2023, outperforming the A320neo. Airbus’ backlog for aircraft deliveries sees the A321neo lead the way.
Airbus needs to find ways to catch up in response to this backlog, which is expected to grow following a significant delay in deliveries thanks to a pandemic and supply chain issues.
Continued development of the A321neo at Airbus has increased interest in the series. This has been especially highlighted with the A321LR and A321XLR range extensions, which have seen the A321 program fill more customers’ needs.
The Lack Of Boeing Response Drives A321neo Sales
Boeing’s decision not to move forward with their own NMA to act as a dedicated replacement to the 757 series and provide competition to the A321neo program has aided Airbus.
Since this decision from Boeing, the European plane maker has looked towards further developing the A321neo. Further development is visible through the upcoming XLR slated for a 2024 EIS. This new variant, alongside other enhancements, sees niche markets now have an available aircraft type.
Several customers hoping Boeing would release their NMA have now been forced to look elsewhere. Airbus has taken advantage of this position by pushing its A321neo series.