Airbus revives plan for new single-aisle jet plant in Toulouse

PARIS, May 12 (Reuters) - Airbus has revived plans to install a new production line for its A321neo jet in Toulouse, France, as it reshapes production of the medium-haul single-aisle jets that are tipped to lead its factories out of the coronavirus crisis.

The European planemaker said on Wednesday the new line, to be installed in the deserted assembly hall where it once built the now-abandoned A380 superjumbo, would open by end-2022.

Airbus decided in 2019 to halt output of the world’s largest jetliner and the last A380 rolled out in March, leaving the world’s second-largest industrial building in limbo.

Airbus plans to use at least part of the Jean-Luc Lagardere building to add a new line with state-of-the art facilities to meet demand for the smaller A321neo, which has seen a rise in demand to represent more than half of its single-aisle backlog.

That will replace one of the original lines used for the A320, a slightly smaller and earlier model, in Toulouse.

Airbus suspended similar plans in April last year when the global outbreak of COVID-19 forced it to cut global production.

The new move comes as Airbus tells suppliers to be ready for a further recovery in single-aisle output to 53 jets a month by end-2022, first reported by Reuters on Tuesday. (Reporting by Tim Hepher; editing by Jason Neely)