Airbus Industrie chief operating officer Volker Von Tein has raised the possibility of an increase in the production rate of the A320 family from the planned 18 per month - but only if the consortium secures an order for 120 aircraft from US Airways.

The current rate of production is about 12 a month across the two lines - the A320 at Aerospatiale's Toulouse plant, and the A319/ A321 at the Dasa Airbus centre in Hamburg. This will increase to 18 by 1999. Von Tein says, however, that "-it looks to me that the market is such that we can go above 18 aircraft a month".

The consortium delivered 72 single-aisle aircraft in 1996, increasing to a predicted 130 in 1997. A further rise in 1998 and 1999 has resulted from this year's healthy sales, which stand at 190 A320-family aircraft in the first nine months of the year. Airbus has achieved the 50% increase in capacity "with no delays".

Airbus says that the US Airways deal is "still not done" despite preliminary agreement with the pilots' union signed by the 30 September deadline set for a final decision on the order. The deadline has been re-extended to allow the full complement of pilots to vote on the deal.

Source: Flight International