Airbus considers lifting A320 production to 44 per month

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Airbus is studying the possibility of raising the A320-family production rate to as many as 44 aircraft per month but is yet to convince itself that suppliers will be able to cope with such an increase.

The European manufacturer has already pledged to step up single-aisle airliner production to 40 per month by the first quarter of 2012, up from the current rate of 36.

Speaking at parent company EADS' New Year reception in London on 11 January, Airbus executive vice-president programmmes Tom Williams said further incremental increases, to 42 and 44 aircraft per month, were under evaluation in the face of strong airline demand.

Describing the A320 as the company's "cash cow", Williams said the airframer recognised that lifting the production rate as high as 44 could present "pretty significant challenges" for the programme's supply chain.

Airbus raised the A320-family production rate from 34 aircraft per month to 36 during the course of 2010. The rate is due to climb to 38 by August before hitting a fresh peak of 40 in early 2012.