I was reading this article. The article was about issues that Airbus may face if the UK does a 'Hard Brexit'. At the very end of the Article though, Airbus says

Airbus makes wings for all its jetliners in the UK. The France-based company campaigned against Britain leaving the EU ahead of the UK vote, but has said it would not make abrupt changes to its operations there due to long product cycles.
- foxbusiness.com

Can anybody elaborate what the company means by long product cycles?

  • $\begingroup$ This question really isn't about aviation per se, and might be better asked over at ELL. They're very friendly and have many questions about English expressions like this. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 23:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's part English and part how airplane manufacturing works. If I were to take ELL, while they may be able to fill in 'long product cycle' - probably meaning it takes a long time for things to come to fruition, how this industry works and whether that term is correct can only be accessed by somebody who's in the business. $\endgroup$
    – shirish
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 1:03
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    $\begingroup$ A Product Lifecycle is the process through which a consumable product goes through from conception to retirement. A "long product lifecycle" means that the manufacturer takes steps to keep that product (in this case, an airplane) in manufacturing for an extended time. The A-320 for example first flew in 1987 and is still being manufactured with no plans for retirement. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ It doesn't have any special meaning in Aviation compared to any other industry. As Ron Beyer says, it simply means the product will be in production for a long time before a replacement is sought. $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


A long product cycle means that the lifecycle of a product spans a long time. Aircraft models are often produced for more than 30 years (the 737 and 747 are now approximately 50 years in production).

At the same time, the capital expenses to build a production line are enormous. And in starting up a production line there are always teething troubles which take time and money to iron out. Therefore it would be a waste of capital to move a production line from the UK to mainland EU.

That only is viable when a new aircraft model is introduced and an old model is phased out. New models don't appear every year and it seems that most of the current models are still selling well so unless there will be a huge cost associated with keeping the production line in the UK (e.g. taxes, increasing labour cost, unfavourable exchange rate) no changes are to be expected soon.

  • $\begingroup$ Costs may actually decrease after UK scrub taxes on exported products to increase its attractiveness related to EU companies. The same for RR competing against Safran (CFM international). Airbus customers may be very happy. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 9:44

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