The main reason for halting production is the low number of planes sold. Airbus’s head of business analysis and market forecast, Bob Lange, commented: “In the end, you have to face facts, and we could see that we were building A380s faster than people were ordering them.”
The existing A380 facilities in Toulouse will be converted to increase A321 production capability and accommodate a digitalised final assembly line.
Airbus designs and manufactures the wings for its civil aircraft at its two sites in the UK, employing 13,500 people. The aircraft manufacturer also employs around 110,000 in its UK supply chain
Filton in South Gloucestershire is where the engineering and design work takes place, and a site in Broughton, South Wales is where all wing assembly takes place, and other major wing component manufacturing.
Airbus chief executive, Guillaume Faury, recently said there is a lot of hope Boris Johnson’s new Brexit withdrawal agreement will be the foundation of a healthy EU relationship.
Mr Faury said: “There’s a lot of work to be done… But there’s a lot of hope that, based on the withdrawal agreement, there will be a healthy relationship between the UK and the EU, and we are trying to play a role in explaining what is necessary.”
Britain left the EU on 31st January with its signed withdrawal agreement. The EU and the UK will now negotiate a trade agreement in the coming year.
Asked whether the company would move its wing manufacturing out of the UK regardless of Brexit, Mr Faury added: “We have a very strong base in the UK and we are very happy with this industrial base. We have no reason to move production out of the UK. It would be difficult anyway, these are huge industrial systems – you can’t just move them.”