Airbus’s Chinese Assembly Line Delivers its First A321neo

 - March 24, 2023, 10:51 AM
Airbus Asia employees celebrate the first delivery of an A321neo from the company's factory in Tianjin, China. (Photo: Airbus)

Airbus has delivered the first A321neo assembled at its final assembly line in Tianjin, China, to Shanghai-based Juneyao Air, the manufacturer said Friday. Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines and equipped with 199 economy-class seats and eight in business class, the A321neo rolled out of the factory some four months after Airbus announced the plan to build the largest version of the A320 family in Tianjin. Plans call for the delivery flight to use a 10 percent sustainable aviation fuel blend in support of China’s green aviation strategy.

“Since we announced the commissioning of the first A321 aircraft at FAL (final assembly line) Tianjin last November, the relevant final assembly activities and tests went on smoothly, showcasing the maturity of FAL Tianjin to quickly adapt to new products,” said George Xu, Airbus executive v-p and Airbus China CEO. “The successful delivery of the first A321 aircraft enables Airbus to honor the popularity of the aircraft for the China market and beyond—and the consistent trust and support from our customers.”

Airbus operates four A320-family final assembly facilities, in Hamburg, Germany; Toulouse, France; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, Alabama in the U.S. With the conversion of the Tianjin facility last year and another about to complete its transformation in Toulouse, Airbus expects to make its entire narrowbody industrial system A321-capable, creating the flexibility the company needs to meet its production rate objectives and address the rising demand for higher capacity narrowbodies and the resulting increase in popularity of the A321 model compared with the other members of the family.

The A320neo-family continues to see the share of A321 deliveries increase. In 2022, A321s accounted for about 51 percent of all single-aisle deliveries, some 69 percent of 2022 orders, and roughly 60 percent of the single-aisle backlog. Airbus expects the production rate for the A321 to continue to increase to about a 70 percent share of the 75 A320-family jets the company plans to build by each month by 2025.  

Since its first A320 delivery in 2009, Airbus’s FAL in Tianjin has delivered more than 600 aircraft.