WASHINGTON/PARIS (Reuters) - Planemakers are looking at drastic cuts in wide-body production amid a slump in demand for the industry’s largest jetliners, manufacturing and supplier sources said on Thursday.
Deliveries of long-range jets like the Boeing 777 or 787 and Airbus A350 or A330 have been particularly badly hit as airlines seek deferrals and many withhold progress payments.
“At a minimum, the (Boeing (BA.N)) rate could fall by at least half,” one industry source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Airbus (AIR.PA) also faces likely cuts in wide-body jet production, but no decision has been taken, the sources said.
Both planemakers declined comment.
UK-based consultancy Ascend by Cirium has forecast a total surplus of some 5,000 commercial aircraft of all sizes once the dust settles from the industry’s worst ever crisis.
Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun told employees on Thursday that the company would take steps to balance supply and demand, without elaborating.
“It will take time for the aerospace industry to recover from the crisis,” he said in a letter to employees, adding the commercial market would evolve in future.
“We will need to balance the supply and demand accordingly as the industry goes through the recovery process for years to come,” he said.
Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said last month that the European planemaker would also adjust supply in the event that airlines fail to take their aircraft.
Reporting by David Shepardson, Tim Hepher; Editing by Susan Fenton