Max Kingsley-Jones/TOULOUSE

Airbus Industrie is to boost production rates of its single-aisle family further over the next 18 months in the face of continuing high demand for the aircraft. A decision to produce a further four A320 family aircraft a month, plus any future widebody increases, will take the consortium's annual production of all aircraft to some 350 a year.

The Airbus supervisory board approved a further production increase in the A320 family during its meeting on 14 May. The single-aisle rate is already moving to 18 a month and a further increase, to 22, has now been approved for the second quarter of 2000. John Leahy, Airbus Industrie's senior vice-president, commercial, says that A320 family production is already sold out in 1999, but adds that he could sell "20-30" more aircraft if they were available.

Continued sales success in the widebody sector could also lead to A330/A340 production being boosted. It is already moving to around 5.5 a month and could increase further, to seven. Airbus says that the maximum achievable rate on the A330/A340 line, without the introduction of additional assembly equipment, is around 13 aircraft a month. The existing assembly building has the capacity for even higher rates if additional fuselage-mating jigs are added, says the consortium.

These increases, combined with the A300/A310 line, which is running at around 12 a year, would result in the consortium's annual production tally rising to about 360 aircraft from 234 this year and the planned level of 285 in 1999. Leahy says that he expects Airbus annual production to average around 350 aircraft a year through to 2017.

Source: Flight International