Airbus will raise the monthly production rate of its A320-family aircraft to 38 per month in August 2011 and to 40 per month in first quarter 2012, the company announced today. The company currently turns out 34 A320s per month and plans to raise that its rate to 36 this coming December. A330/A340-family production remains at 8.5 per month.
Airbus said continued strong demand-underscored by its sales performance during this month's Farnborough Air Show, where it collected sales commitments for 206 A320-family jets-and a record backlog of more than 2,200 airplanes prompted its latest decision to boost single-aisle production rates.
“The recent Farnborough International Airshow, where Airbus garnered orders worth $28 billion in total and the leasing companies made a strong return to the market, was clear evidence of a strong and positive trend towards recovery,” said Tom Williams, Airbus executive vice president for programs.
Meanwhile, arch-rival Boeing continues to contemplate raising production rates of its 737 line beyond the 35-per-month rate it plans for 2012.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said the company would decide by early fall whether or not to raise rates beyond 35 per month. “We were mildly surprised at the strength of new orders we've seen over the last quarter,” said McNerney. “It did support our thinking to take up production rates and supports our ongoing analysis to think through whether there's more opportunity beyond what we've announced.”
However, any decision along those lines will depend on the ability of the 737's supply chain to support such a move. “I think the supply chain is the key question,” said McNerney. “I think moving from where we've been-in the low 30s-to something north of 35 [per month], while your competitor is also looking at moves and other airplanes are also moving up in rate, can put pressure on suppliers…So we're just working very methodically through different scenarios, and if the market is there, and the supply chain is committed and capable, you will see further movement.”