Welcome order boost for Broughton’s Airbus wing-making factory

The A321neo

Workers at the Airbus wing-making plant in Broughton, near Chester, have received an orders boost after US airline Delta added a further 25 aircraft to an existing delivery.

It marks a return to something approaching normality after Airbus, and other plane makers around the world, suffered a collapse in work intake as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that led to international border closures and the grounding of nearly all aircraft for almost a year.

Airbus underwent a restructuring to combat the dearth in business, which included Broughton’s headcount dropping from more than 6,000 staff to just over 4,500.

However, Delta Airlines has placed a firm order for 25 A321neo (New Engine Option) aircraf, in addition to Delta’s 2017 order of 100 A321neo aircraft.

These planes will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines. Additionally, Delta has accelerated delivery of two A350-900 aircraft as well as two A330 900neo aircraft.

Mahendra Nair, Delta’s senior vice president-fleet strategy, said: “With our customers ready to reclaim the joy of travel, this agreement positions Delta for growth while accounting for the planned retirements of older narrowbody aircraft in our fleet, reducing our carbon footprint, increasing efficiency and elevating the customer experience.

“We thank Airbus for their steadfast partnership during the pandemic and look forward to working with them as we take delivery of the A321neo as well as our accelerated A350 and A330-900neo deliveries.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer, said: “We have managed the challenges of the last year together with our customers, and it is gratifying to be taking steps like this one towards the regrowth of our industry with our long standing partner, Delta.”

Overall, A320neo family aircraft deliver per-seat fuel improvements of 20%, along with additional range of up to 500 nautical miles or two metric tons of extra payload.

First delivered in April 2017, the A321neo shares 95% airframe commonality with the Airbus A320 family, facilitating seamless integration into existing single-aisle fleets.

The A321neo also shares a common type rating with the rest of the A320 family, permitting A320 family pilots to fly the A321neo without additional training.

This latest order from Delta Airlines brings the A321neo’s total order since introduction to nearly 3,500, with more than 500 aircraft already in fleets around the world.

The Broughton plant makes wings for all the Airbus commercial models.