Airbus To Boost A320 Production in December

 - March 9, 2010, 4:53 AM

Airbus plans to increase the monthly production rate for its single-aisle A320 family from the current rate of 34 to 36 starting in December, the company announced today. It also said that the production rate for the long-range A330/A340 family will remain at its current level of eight per month. When Airbus reduced the A320 monthly build rate from 36 to 34 late last year, it had said it expected the A320 rate could return to the current level by the end of this year.

The announcement comes as parent company EADS posted a €763 million ($1.04 billion) loss for 2009, attributed largely to losses associated with Airbus’s ongoing struggle to manage the high level of customization customers require for the A380 superjumbo. Although the company plans to deliver 20 of the airplanes this year, compared with just 10 last year, it expects the A380 to account for a drain on its finances for at least another two to three years. 

Airbus said “continuing demand for its eco-efficient aircraft and a record backlog in excess of some 2,300 A320 family aircraft” drove the decision to raise single-aisle production rate.

“Leading economic indices and business confidence indicators are showing an upward trend again,” said Tom Williams, Airbus executive vice president for programs. “We see this reflected in the continuing solid demand for our eco-efficient products and our robust backlog. Thanks to our proactive order book management we have been able to keep production stable during the year of the downturn, but now it is definitely time to think ahead.”

Airbus delivered a total of 498 aircraft in 2009, including 402 A320 family aircraft, both new company records for a single year. It said it expects to deliver a “similar” number in 2010.