Airbus changing production to be more competitive

By Bjorn Fehrm

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June 1, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: With the large aircraft development programs being on the way to fade out and give way to incremental improvement programs, Airbus is shifting its focus onto making its production more competitive.

The revenue and profitability of Airbus commercial aircraft depends on up to 90% on delivered airliners. With the pricing determined by the market, the production costs are virtually determining Airbus' bottom line.


Figure 1. The forward part of an A350 loaded into Station 50 in the Final Assembly line. Source: Airbus.

The classical Airbus production system was designed to satisfy industrial-political rather rational production criteria, with each participating national aeronautical industry vigorously carving out its piece of the production pie. The result was a production system that had non-optimal efficiencies.

With the coming 5-10 years being a period of incremental development amid a further ramp up of production, the time has now come to focus the Airbus production system and to change this to an efficient and streamlined operation.

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