Airbus executive vice-president programmes Tom Williams Williams says the airframer is "trying to settle A330/A340 production rate at around 8.5 a month, which we think is a sensible number, although we don't have the cushion of over-booking that we have on our single-aisle programmes".

The A330/A340 backlog is driven primarily by the A330 and the half-an-aircraft rate above eight a month roughly represents the monthly A340 output, he adds.

Assembly of the A330-200F will begin in June, with a first flight scheduled in the fourth quarter, says Williams. "The freighter market is down significantly, which has meant that while we had planned to go to two freighters a month, we'll now probably stay at one a month through the 2010-2011 period."

Source: Flight International