52 comments on “Mobile TV obtains Airbus A320 plant blueprint

  1. It took 3 yrs from start until first delivery in Tianjin. So 2015? I guess a phased growth to 6 aircraft a month to make it worthwhile.

    I think the NEO has further potential. A freighter, bigger wing 240 seater, more composites and e.g A320 stretch are not crazy unfeasible when additional slots become available this decade.

    And will probably force Boeing to move on the NSA before they want to.

    • Just a little nitpicking: Your stretched A320neo “Plus” (A322?) is listed as having a length of 41.10m. If you stretch the A320 by 7 frames, I get: 37.57m + (0.534m** x 7) = 41.3m

      If the frame is stretched by 6 frames, the length would be 40.77m

      **A320 fuselage frame spacing

      • A redesigned tail will be A350xwb derived. That will improve efficiency by some enormous amount but change length slightly ;-)

    • Looks like the NB will grow, the smallest memebers A319/737-7 have very few sales. The NSA will certainly grow in size, I think both A and B will leave the market below 150 seats in the future. This lays the ground work for true 757 replacements at both airframers.

      They will be outcompeted from below. How big is the market between 737-8/A320 and 788? Thats were I see A and B digging in to fight the growing competition, but they will both need new frames to survive in the long run. A318/737-600 were the first models to be left to die.

      All those who say a 757 sized plane is not possible forget that the base model for the future A and B NBs will be biggar than the current 737-8/A320. Actually the smallest members will be a shring of the larger base model, somewhere between a 737-8 and 737-9. With a larger model about as big as a 757-200 or there about.

      These new larger NBs will replace 757/767 and some A330 on the lower end. Thrust will grow, crossection will be a tad larger than A320, wings will grow, but that will be a gate space problem?! The top models will be super effcient TATL shuttles or intra asia haulers, 230-240 seats and 4500nm, below 100t MTOW. Japan and China would buy a lot of these instead of misused 788s.

      The competition will stay below 150 seats as they will have a much harder time to compete upwards.

  2. Slightly off topic, but wasn’t the contract signing between UA and Boeing on single aisles supposed to be imminent?

    <blockquote“We don’t have a sufficient narrowbody order,” Smisek admitted. The airline is evaluating the A320NEO and the Boeing 737 MAX, but Smisek would not comment on a possible order or if the airline would consider current model narrowbodies. “It all depends on timing,” he noted.

    http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/avd_06_29_2012_p01-01-472305.xml

    • As far sa I know, UA is still ‘evaluating’ the possible NB airplanes (read who offers the best deal and production slots). Both Boeing and Airbus have B-737NG and A-320OEO slots available. Airbus has no A-320NEO slots open until 2020, unless some other airlines allow them to shuffle airplanes around. I believe Boeing has B-737MAX slots available that they reserve for their biggest customers, and some of them may be as early as 2017.

      • Some people actually believed the A350-900 would/could replace the 747-400 fleet. IMO you have to read without thinking to digest that.. what to do with the daily 744 transpacs, cut marketshare by 30% in booming markets?

        From yesterdays aviation week article:

        But the more near-term decision is the replacement of United’s 92-strong Boeing 757-200 fleet.

        “We don’t have a sufficient narrowbody order,” Smisek admitted. The airline is evaluating the A320NEO and the Boeing 737 MAX, but Smisek would not comment on a possible order or if the airline would consider current model narrowbodies. “It all depends on timing,” he noted.

        Airbus’s plans to build a final assembly line for the A320 in Mobile, Ala. will have no influence on United’s narrowbody decision, Smisek added

        He doesn’t want to wait for 2020 but additional slots in 3 yrs have no influence.. maybe stop thinking again..

        Many UA/Co 757s fly the Caribien’s short and hot runways. Look at payload range and runway performance of the 737-900/ER/-9 MAX vs the A321/Sharklet/NEO

        I searched for 737-900 / ERs at Juliana St. Maarten Airport, no hits.. http://www.pprune.org/tech-log/487275-b737-900er-take-off-performance.html

        Regardless of you personal preferences or any MAX commitments, what would be a good idea? In my experience common sense often prevails..

        I hope Albaugh retirement a few days ago is unrelated.

    • Looks like Smisek , United, wants more NB , and in a short timing !
      A split order, (Or a second order to Airbus) between A & B, for some narrow body, may not be out ruled … and some “Mobile AL” free slots for 2015-16 may be attractive and welcomed for United !

      This was my first think, when Jim Albaugh brutally step down ! He may have lost to Airbus some important order in the US market !

  3. All said and done, it is a great move by Airbus -making it an “American” made plane -as much as Boeing , even taking away some work from Europe esp France . It would provide them options-to make other products -for defense as well and pry open the market .
    Boeing is on defense here ;and Airbus ironically will enjoy non union worker relationships, which is good -getting away from the European unions.
    One thing is clear- Airbus can open a non union shop in USA-but Boeing had to fight its union for opening another plant within the country. That could be Boeing’s weakness , their great product range not withstanding.
    Another move in this game -offense by Airbus (following Neo) between the two big players in commercial aviation.
    What will/can Boeing do?

      • Someone suggested Marseille. If we must relocate to Europe let’s go somewhere warm without so many Germans around (I kid, but you must admit that the Med is rather more pleasant than the Baltic).

        Though a facility somewhere like the Czech Republic or Poland would perhaps be more economically viable if we for some reason decided to expand across the Atlantic.

  4. My take for a possible Boeing FAL in Europe:
    Marseille: It is in France and BCA World have to deal with 5 Unions:Force Ouvriere, Cfdt, CGT, CFE-CGC and CFTC. The salary level is high.

    Hamburg: Firstly: No space around the Airport Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel. Secondly: XFW is an exklusive Airbus Airport and also no space for a site expansion. Thirdly: There is the very strong Union IG-Metall. German salary level is the highest inside the Airbus industrial complex. Side info: Hamburg is connected to the North Sea, not to the Baltic Sea.

    Czech Republic: No access to the sea. But possible. Evector, a small sports plane producer, is already a Boeing supplier.

    Poland: Ports at the Baltic Sea. Strong US ally but also strong ties to EADS. Nevertheless possible.

    My favourites:
    I don’t know why Spain was not mentioned before? Boeing already has an Engineering Center in Spain and Spain is very easy to reach. Several ports, closer than Marseille, are available. Of all European “Airbus Countries” by far the lowest salary level. Political support would be high, regardless of EADS lobbying, because Spain has a 20% unemployment rate ( one of the worst in europe). Moreover there is a highly experienced workforce already available.
    Italy would also be possible, given the strong involvement of italian suppliers like Alenia. Italy has roundabout 5 big Universities teaching Aeronautical Engineering. they produce more engineers than in-country jobs available.

    Here is my ranking:
    Spain
    Italy
    Poland
    Czech Republic

    • “Poland: Ports at the Baltic Sea. Strong US ally but also strong ties to EADS. Nevertheless possible.”

      Poland doesn’t have any real ties to EADS, they have stronger links to the US if anything. Odd that you put Spain on top of the list as EADS is part Spanish. If you want to avoid union trouble, avoid Italy.

      The most union free and aerospace competent country is the UK.

      • Peter, lots of Polish People immigrated to the US and there have been warm relations between the two for 2 decades. The Bush government even used to refer to it as the ” New Europe” when some old Europe countries said no to him. Now about the links, apart from mutual sympathy, its Europe. Polish export to the US are dwarfed by exports/imports to EC members. The EC countries invested tens of billions to speed up the country after 1990. The polish didn’t avoid difficult changes themselves, worked hard and are since 2004 enjoying the benefits of their open borders and free trade with other EC members. Also with the US but at a different scale (20 ? times smaller).

        http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Europe/Poland-FOREIGN-TRADE.html#b

      • (European) Unions per se are not a problem. As an enabling part in “Mitbestimmung” they are integral to Airbus success imho.
        But US style management is incompatible with Euro style unions and worker representation ( Look at GM / Opel : completely run down by hamfisted US management )

      • “Strong US ally”
        with the 2autoremoval” of the Kaczynski brother(s) this has afaics changed a bit. Tusk is a much saner person.

    • Let me throw another option in the fortune-telling hat: the Netherlands.
      Great aerospace universities and colleges
      Good relations with the US and Boeing (Working on F-16, JSF, 747-8, 787)
      Great access to sea and air though Rotterdam and Schiphol.

      … I wouldn’t have to move!

  5. For a serious Boeing facility low costs wel educated population, fitting culture are important. Big US aerospace companies went to Eastern Europe, south west Poland, where an Aerospace conglomerate has been formed. Much Airbus production moved to Spain (Seville) during the last 15 yrs.The sounth, Basque and around Madrid there is. Traditionally Ireland was a place for big US coeporation because of lower wages, attractive tax regime, time difference with the US is less and they speak english pretty well ;) which has a lot of value. Western Europe has high educated population, smooth logistics, cooperative unions and high salaries..

    • Ireland now has very high wages and a small population to draw on, plus logistically its location is limiting.

    • Assuming the B-737MAX is successful, and is also followed by the NSA, beginning with a B-757 size/capable model, Boeing will need extra production facilities it does not have now. Spain would be a good choice as with the highest unemployment rate in the EU and the economic problems of Spain (or Italy), tere would be more local government cooperation in getting a new plant set up including the infastructure that will be needed.

      I suggested Hamburg, Germany because it has a high level of engineering capability. The Germans are very good engineers. I would shy away from anywhere in France because of the political and high costs with operating in France. Ireland would be a good choice, too.

      But, the bottom line is would Boeing ever consider opening a new FAL, for any of their airplane models in the EU?

      • I doubt Boeing needs to open a plant in Europe as Europeans would buy it wherever its made, there isn’t as much bias as in the US towards local manufacture.

        I think Boeing isn’t going to be swayed by issues of sunny weather, Eastern European countries have wages 1/4 that of Western Europe and no problem with unions. European manufacturers are moving production to Poland etc because of it.

      • “isn’t as much bias as in the US towards local manufacture”

        The “bias” is relative to how loud some are about where stuff is made. Unlike at IMF or World Bank meetings, there are no protestors outside a Seattle Costco warehouse store or even an Ikea or WalMart for their foreign made products. For airlines, especially publicly held airlines, the motive is financial… over all costs and profit near and long term.

        Yet, as expected, there are biases by state influenced/owned airlines and in military procurement as they involve tax money. Would France or Germany ever consider buying the Boeing refueling tanker over the MRTT? Did the UK’s production of Airbus wings play a part in leasing MRTT’s?

      • “But, the bottom line is would Boeing ever consider opening a new FAL, for any of their airplane models in the EU?”

        YOu hit the nail directly on the head there. There is no value to Boeing in such a manouver.

  6. Maybe Airbus is worried EU will collapse like all the PIIGS countries have. Leave it to politicians to fubar it all :)

    • News of an EU demise is rather premature.
      Germans are bying like mad. With a lower valued Euro EADS/Airbus would have less need for a “dollar” site. So what does Airbus expect to happen when they go for a US FAL ;-)

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  8. I just think Airbus will not make the announcement without some new orders from America !
    It may be the missing point, and Airbus, just waiting the confirmation …
    So we shall have to wait a few days , Farnborough is coming soon !

    May be ….
    Confirmation of the AA Order, not registered in the Airbus books up to date !
    A second half of the United order for NB !
    Something coming up from Delta or US Airways !

    Where is John Leahy ??

  9. Am I correct that the Mobile site would assemble parts built elsewhere? If so, where would they be built? Or, will A fabricate all/some of the wings, fuselage etc in Mobile.

    This is a terrific win for the American people, no matter how much B whines – lots of new jobs in a place that needs them, and more radiating out from there, and all on Obama’s watch. Sadly for him, I don’t think even this will help him carry Ala.

    • Same supply chain. That’s why they picked a port, so the parts could be shipped by sea; sending them by air would be too expensive for narrowbodies.

    • This assembly plant would be much like the one they have in China except most likely 100% EADS NA owned. Large sections are assembled in Europe (probably Hamburg, Germany), put on ships and set over. Not much really “made,” but just more assembly from larger sections. Yet, many smaller parts, and assemblies, and systems are made globally including in the USA & Europe.

  10. I think the supplier panel will not change drastically, unless with the few enable to follow up the production !
    But all the Airbus planes incorporate yet a lot of US parts and equipments …

  11. Reply to KC135 #26. Why not Witchita? My understanding is that B has not said what it is going to do with that plant.

    I also agree with those who say A’s move to Mobile is mainly so they can say to US customers that their planes are built here. I suspect there is a very strong unspoken reluctance on the part of US carriers to order planes not substantially built in this country, given the current economic situation.

    • Most likely retain it as a possible resource for future expansion. Possibly the NG Strategic Bomber program if that ever comes to fruition, or possible commercial aircraft expansion in the future (IAM already has control there so they most likely wouldn’t have a problem adding production there over the Puget Sound area).

    • Seems to me they needed production capacity and an American FAL does three things. It allows them to hedge the currency imbalance either direction, it allows them to avoid import taxes/tariffs, and it gets their foot in the door for future DOD contracts. Made in the USA may be a small component, but I doubt if it is the driving force. On a non aviation note, I wonder how much success Austal would have had with the DOD with out manufacturing facilities here?

  12. Transactions in Mobile have begun 2-3 years ago !
    They were very close to engage, if they win the Tankers ….
    Airbus may not want to depend on the goodwill of Boeing in Wichita to receive the plant and the work force just in the right time …
    Quite logical !

  13. Aero NInja :
    “But, the bottom line is would Boeing ever consider opening a new FAL, for any of their airplane models in the EU?”
    YOu hit the nail directly on the head there. There is no value to Boeing in such a manouver.

    Which also shows that there are no potential “free government riches” available
    in the EU as Boeing regularly alleges.

    • I believe it has more to do with the € vs UDS exchange rate as well as the possible politics/diplomacy of having a facility in said country. Boeing is not going to get more sales from European based airlined by opening a facility here. Whether AIrbus will is still to be seen.

  14. If Boeing needs more production they could expand the Charleston site and do NBs there. That would piss off the unions for sure. But it would be logical to diverse the NB production as well. I think over time Charleston will get more business, its not like Boeing cold expand more in Renton as it is maxed out and some buildings sold off. The only problem being the supply chain located in Washington state mostly.

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