Airbus begins building new A220 assembly facilities in Mirabel

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Airbus confirms it has kicked off construction of two new buildings in Mirabel that will enable the company to boost production of A220s.

The move precedes the Airbus’s plan to open an A220 assembly site in the USA, and comes as it begins fulfilling major orders from several large North American airlines.

“To support our ramp up, we need extra space in Mirabel, so we’ve started construction work for two new dome structures which will be ready around spring 2019,” Airbus tells FlightGlobal.

The domes will “create additional capacity for the final assembly process”, says Airbus.

The company declines to provide additional details about new construction at Mirabel, which aviation blog reported in recent days.

Airbus, and Bombardier before it, have sought to boost production of the aircraft previously known as the CSeries, which is assembled in the same Mirabel complex in which Bombardier assembles CRJ regional jets.

Prior to Airbus’ acquisition of the A220 in July, Bombardier executives talked of hiking production to between 90 and 120 aircraft annually by 2020.

But, actual production rates increased at a glacial pace in recent years.

Bombardier delivered just 17 of the aircraft in 2017. So far this year, Bombardier and Airbus have handed over just 25 A220s, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer.

In addition to the new facility planned in Mirabel, production should benefit from Airbus’ plans to open an A220 assembly site in Mobile, Alabama, where the European airframer also assembles A320-family aircraft.

Airbus expects to break ground on the A220 Mobile site in early 2019, it confirms.

The moves come as Airbus prepares to begin handing over A220s to major customers Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, following the first delivery to Delta Air Lines in October.

Atlanta-based Delta has orders for 75 of the aircraft, and had initially expected to receive them all by the end of 2020.

Air Canada has orders for 45 A220s, with deliveries pegged for between 2019 and 2022, and JetBlue has orders for 60 A220-300s, with deliveries to begin in 2020.