Airbus exec outlines A220 program goals

Avatar for Ken PoleBy Ken Pole | November 13, 2019

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 50 seconds.

The possibility of a second production line being set up at the former Bombardier plant in Mirabel, Que., to build a new aircraft in addition to the Airbus A220 is being dismissed by Philippe Balducchi, chief executive officer of Airbus Canada.

Chief executive officer of Airbus Canada, Philippe Balducchi, said the current production target for the A220 at Mirabel is 10 aircraft a month. Airbus Photo
Chief executive officer of Airbus Canada, Philippe Balducchi, said the current production target for the A220 at Mirabel is 10 aircraft a month. Airbus Photo

There evidently have been rumours at Airbus commercial headquarters in France to the effect that the company was considering “transferring another type of aircraft” to Mirabel because its Toulouse production lines were at capacity.

When an Airbus supplier put the question to Balducchi after his Nov. 12 speech to the Aerospace Industry Association of Canada’s (AIAC’s) annual Summit conference, he responded that “it’s not on my agenda” because “the Mirabel facilities are there for the A220s.”

He did acknowledge that Bombardier regional jet production in the shared facility would be winding up by the end of 2020, but said the space would be used to ramp up A220 production.

In his presentation to the AIAC audience, Balducchi confirmed the current production target of 10 aircraft a month.

Although Airbus shares the Mirabel facility with Bombardier's regional jet production, Balduchhi said the space would be used to ramp up A220 production by the end of 2020. Howard Slutsken Photo
Although Airbus shares the Mirabel facility with Bombardier’s regional jet production, Balduchhi said the space would be used to ramp up A220 production by the end of 2020. Howard Slutsken Photo

“We’re not there, obviously, yet, but we should be around that . . . by 2025 or the middle of the next decade.” Meanwhile, “we are on time, on our milestones.”

He also said that Airbus is looking for “double-digit” cuts in production costs, some of which he said would be achieved through unspecified changes to the popular A220 platform without compromising performance.

Other savings would be negotiated with suppliers, and although Balducchi insisted that Airbus was “not completely crazy; we know suppliers need to make money,” his drive to cut costs meant that “we need our partners in the program to support us.”

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