Exclusive: Airbus mulls A320 output increase to 50/month from 2017

Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:16pm EST
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By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) - European planemaker Airbus is talking to suppliers about the possibility of raising production of its A320 family of aircraft to 50 jets a month as early as 2017, narrowing a gap with rival Boeing BA.N, a senior industry source said on Tuesday.

Airbus has asked suppliers to be ready to adjust to production of 48 aircraft a month during 2016, rising to 50 a month in 2017, the source said, asking not to be named.

The increase would stretch an existing target that calls for 46 of the single-aisle jets a month by the second quarter of 2016, up from a current rate of 42. There can be a lag between supplier schedules and aircraft production.

A spokesman for Airbus declined to comment ahead of Airbus Group AIR.PA annual results due to be released on Friday.

Airbus jet division Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier last month declared the supply chain "stable" in a sign of potential output hikes, but acknowledged differences between sales and production teams about when to take the next step.

He promised a decision by June.

Another industry source said it was not a matter of 'if' but 'when' Airbus would increase output despite analyst warnings that the commercial aerospace cycle has peaked, which have helped to push down aerospace stocks.

Airbus shares ended the day down 1.9 percent at 51.9 euros. Boeing fell 2.3 percent on Monday.   Continued...

A scale model of an A320 Airbus is displayed during the Airbus annual press conference in Colomiers, near Toulouse, January 13, 2014.  REUTERS/Regis Duvignau