MIAMI —Airbus has announced the plans to ramp up the production of its narrowbody A320 family aircraft before the end of the decade, in a move supported by record numbers in firm orders amid a strong global demand for the type. The manufacturer cites studies on production ramp-up readiness in the supply chain and in Airbus sites to allow the production increase.
Airbus and Boeing, which currently dominate the market in the narrowbody segment between 100 and 240 seats, have received during the last decade record orders placed by fast-growing airlines from emerging markets. Also, legacy carriers from the United States and Europe are willing to update their fleets with new fuel-efficient and modern aircraft.
The impressive volume of orders have caused growth constraints for operators, which have to wait several years to expand or revamp their fleets due to the extensive production backlogs at both manufacturers. Currently, Airbus backlog at the end of September showed a backlog of 5,500 A320s in both ceo and neo types. On the other hand, Boeing unfilled order for its 737 NG and MAX families stands at 4,243.
“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, Executive Vice President 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 target proposed by Airbus surpasses Boeing production goals for the 737, which is currently 42 aircraft a month. The company expects to increase the rate to 52 planes/month by 2018.
Airbus builds the A320 in production plants in France, Germany and China. Last September, the airframer opened a new Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama to serve the North American Market. However, in order to attain the proposed objective, Airbus will extend its capacity in Hamburg with the creation of an additional production line. In parallel, Airbus will integrate the cabin furnishing phase into the Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, thus harmonizing the production process across all four A320 Family Final Assembly Lines worldwide.