European aircraft manufacturer Airbus told its suppliers to “prepare for the future,” announcing on Thursday their intent to produce more single-aisle aircraft in 2023 than they’d planned on prior to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Airbus, whose production rates collapsed with the Covid-19 pandemic, wants to secure a firm production rate of 64 per month when it comes to the A320 family aircraft by the second quarter of 2023.
At the time of the pandemic, it was producing 60 planes a month and was preparing to increase that number to 63 during 2020.
But faced with the collapse of air traffic, the inability of airlines to take delivery of their planes and their financial difficulties, it had announced at the beginning of the pandemic a reduction in its output of 40%.
Now, the aircraft manufacturer sees a recovery for the travel sector in sight, and wants to expand on their initial production plans.
“The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the Covid-19 crisis,” said Airbus executive chairman Guillaume Faury.
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The aircraft manufacturer “continues to expect a return to pre-crisis levels between 2023 and 2025 for the commercial aircraft market driven by the single-aisle segment.”
It is therefore “informing its suppliers about its production schedule, thus providing visibility in order to plan the necessary investments and secure” production capacities.
Airbus currently produces 40 A320 family aircraft (A319, A320 and A321) per month and expects to produce 43 per month in the third quarter and 45 in the fourth.
“In anticipation of a market recovery, Airbus is also asking its suppliers to enable a 70 (monthly aircraft) rate scenario by Q1 2024. In the longer term, Airbus is looking at opportunities for rates of up to 75 aircraft per month by 2025,” Faury said.
The A320 family is produced on eight assembly lines: two in Toulouse (France), four in Hamburg (Germany), one in Mobile (US) and one in Tianjin (China).
For the aircraft manufacturer, this increase in production rate is expected to be made possible by the modernisation of one of its assembly lines in Toulouse by the end of 2022, to enable it to assemble both A320s and A321s.
The project announced in January 2020 had been put on hold due to the pandemic. It was relaunched in early May.
The A321, with 2,963 aircraft on order at the end of April, now represents almost half of the order book for the aircraft manufacturer's single-aisle aircraft.
The Brussels Times