Re: A319 and A321 ?

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works
Date:         28 Jul 93 00:41:35 PDT
References:   1 2
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In article <> (Stephan Muhs) writes:
>Robert Ashcroft (rna@leland.Stanford.EDU) wrote:

>> The insane thing is that A321s have final assembly in Hamburg (or somewhere
>> in Germany) and A320s have final assembly in France.  That's the price for
>> German pride, I guess.

Insane, yes.  Pride, yes.  But the real insanity is way the Airbus
products other than the A321 are handled, due to French pride.  The
A321 is the first to be handled in any intelligent manner.

>Hardly - Airbus is a project by several european countries, so construction
>an assembly takes place in several countries. It really does not matter, if
>you ship all the parts to France or Germany fo final assembly. It is not a
>matter of pride, but of jobs that made Germany go for the A321 assembly.

That may have been the motivation for the Germans to push so hard to
get the A321 (and eventually A319) assembly, but there were some very
good financial reasons for Airbus to do this.  For all previous Airbus
products, the basic airframe was assembled at Toulouse, then flown to
Hamburg for interior outfitting and various other finishing steps.

The trouble with this is that the engines are a *very* expensive part
of an aircraft.  Boeing (and, I assume, McDonnell Douglas) installs
the interior and such soon after the fuselage/wing join, leaving the
job of hanging the engines until quite late in the assembly process.
Prior to the A321, Airbus had to hang the engines much earlier -- the
figure I once saw was 30 to 45 days sooner, relative to delivery and
thus payment.  Figuring US$6 million apiece for CFM56 or V2500 engines
used on the A320 family (very, very rough, but in the ballpark) and a
cost of money equal to the current US prime rate (6%), that's between
$60k and $90k additional cost to Airbus over Boeing's costs.  For the
larger planes with either more (A340) or larger (hence more expensive)
engines the cost is even worse.

There's been some talk of moving the A320 itself to Hamburg, and while
it would be naive to think there wasn't a lot of politics going on in
this, it also makes a lot of financial sense.  It would be even better
if they not only moved A320 assembly to Hamburg, but at the same time
moved A300-600/A310/A330/A340 final outfitting to Toulouse.

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