Airbus extends lead-time outlook to brace for higher A320 rate

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Airbus is looking to ensure that it can source enough raw material to support a potential increase in A320 production to 44 per month.

While there is a clear commercial demand to increase the rate - Airbus is already preparing to take monthly production in stages to 40 and 42 - executive vice-president for programmes Tom Williams said the airframer is seeing "some strains today" in the supply chain.

Speaking at the manufacturer's Broughton facility, Williams said Airbus was "focusing on suppliers and a number of key commodities".

"Some of them have 36-month lead times," he added. "We're funding long lead time material to support rate 44 - buying ourselves a bit of an insurance policy."

Williams pointed out that one or two suppliers typically go bankrupt each year, which creates difficulties "at any build rate".

But supply chain integrity will prove increasingly critical because the demand for A320neo is such that the company will "have to go beyond" previous production output.