Eight months after announcing its last rate increase for its A320 family, Airbus said on Friday it plans another production hike, this time to 60 aircraft a month starting in mid-2019. Currently building 42 of the single-aisle jets every month, it next plans to increase the rate to 50 in 2017. Airbus said the latest decision follows “thorough studies” on production readiness, both at its own final assembly sites and its supply chain.
To accommodate the increases, Airbus plans to add another assembly line at its plant in Hamburg, Germany. Separately, it plans to integrate cabin-furnishing activities for A320 aircraft produced in Toulouse into its French final assembly line in an effort to “harmonize” the production process across all A320 final assembly lines worldwide.
“The growing single-aisle demand and impressive backlog for both CEOs and NEOs led us to decide on a further ramp-up,” said Didier Evrard, Airbus executive vice president of programs. “I am confident that we have the highest skilled teams and the right solutions in place to gradually move to the highest production rate ever achieved in civil aviation history.”
The decision comes after some major suppliers had expressed reservations about adding enough capacity to accommodate a rate of as high as 63 airplanes a month. Boeing and Airbus share many common suppliers for their respective narrowbodies, and Boeing itself plans to raise production of its 737 from its current rate of 42 to 52 in 2018.