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Dubai & Mirabel — Global headlines over the next week will mark the end of the A380 with Airbus’s final delivery. Less visible will be its final delivery of an A320ceo family aircraft this week — an A321 for Delta Air Lines — marking the end of a 33-year production run of more than 8,100 aircraft for the European single-aisle.
The end of both the fraught superjumbo era for Airbus and the end of the line for the original A320 family are part of a shift taking place in the company’s overall strategy. Every civilian aircraft Airbus will deliver from here on out2 began its service life over the last six years, following a period of near-continuous development.
For the last decade, Airbus has consistently launched a new development effort roughly every two and a half to three and a half years. There was a notable hiatus between January 2015 (A321LR) and June 2019 (A321XLR), punctuated in the middle by the October 2017 acquisition of Bombardier’s CSeries program.
Related: Airbus makes room for the A220 in Alabama and beyond
Now the A220, Airbus’s journey has been one of integration since the deal was finalized in July 2018; accelerating production, while retooling its supply chain and factory operations to reduce the cost of production. The jet’s customers are formalizing their ask of the plane maker, a stretched A220 — a model 500 — that would find itself in a spot once occupied by the sunsetting A320ceo, an airplane seating about 150 in two-classes.
In an interview with The Air Current at the recent Dubai Airshow, Airbus’s Chief Commercial Officer, Christian Scherer, called the launch of an A220-500 a “highly likely” decision and outlined the potential positioning for the aircraft.
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Now the A220, Airbus’s journey has been one of integration since the deal was...