Airbus has announced plans for major production increases across its commercial aircraft offerings. The European giant plans to ramp up production of the successful A320 family by 60% by mid-2023, a major increase. The A220 will also see increases as Airbus predicts a strong aviation recovery, although any ramp up on the widebody side remains slow.
As previously disclosed, Airbus is moving ahead with its plans to ramp up the production rates for the A220 and A320 families significantly. The manufacturing giant will increase monthly A320 output from the current 40 a month to 45 a month by the end of the year. However, as the global aviation recovery picks up, the company is not slowing down.
By the second quarter of 2023, Airbus will see A320 production jump to 64 planes a month, a massive 60% increase and a return to pre-pandemic levels. This will be supported by the rollout of the A321XLR and filling thousands of backlogged orders. Currently, 64 is the maximum capacity that suppliers are committed to. However, Airbus is looking for opportunities to grow this even further.
If everything works out, including demand from airlines and capacity from suppliers, Airbus is eying a target of 75 A320s every month by 2025. This would return the European giant to its pre-pandemic production track, a figure that had been up in the air since last March. However, as airlines see capacity quickly resume, the A320 is at the top of the list of deliveries.
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Others getting love too
It’s not only the A320 family which is seeing a boost in production. The smaller and efficient A220 will see its production increase from five to six aircraft a month in 2022. However, if demand continues to rise, the A220 could see its production rise over two-fold to 14 planes a month by the “middle of the decade.”
The A220 has become a bit of a star during the pandemic, being an effective tool to serve long and low-demand markets alike. As airlines struggled to fill larger jets, this plane quickly earned the title of being the most active fleet in the world.
While the narrowbodies both getting some love, the same can’t be said for widebodies. As international long-haul traffic remains low globally, Airbus is being more careful with production increases for the A350 and A330.
The A350 will see its monthly output rise from five aircraft to six only by the end of 2024. Airbus has previously made the exact change in reverse last July as the pandemic crushed demand. Meanwhile, the A330 will see no change to its production rate of two aircraft monthly for the foreseeable future.
As Airbus sees the green shoots of recovery, it is definitely uneven. Airlines are increasing the delivery rates of narrowbodies as domestic and regional traffic bounce back significantly. However, with international traffic only rising slightly, widebodies remain off the cards for now. Despite this, the news is a welcome change for the European manufacturer which has made massive cuts over the last year.
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