Airbus remains resolute that it sees no need for further single-aisle output cuts and could begin ramping up again by the end of next year.

A320 family production, running at 36 aircraft a month, will be reduced to 34 a month (at the start of final assembly) by October.

Despite pressure from some corners for further single-aisle cuts, executive vice-president programmes Tom Williams says Airbus is "pretty comfortable" with the adjustments it has already made, based on its "watchtower process" that monitors each customer and delivery two years ahead. "Our visibility over the next six months is pretty good, but beyond that it gets a bit tougher," he says."Into next year, we've kept our cushion with overbooking [of slots], more in the second half of the year."

Chief salesman John Leahy says Airbus aims to get through the downturn with flat production rates rather than a boom/bust realignment of output. "We can get through this crisis if airlines just do aircraft retirements a little bit faster during the 2009-10 period," he adds.

Leahy says that although single-aisle output is declining, it could soon be heading up again. "We had planned to go to 40 a month, and I think that by late 2010 or 2011, you'll see us back at 40 again."

Williams agrees, saying that Airbus is "looking at scenarios" to take the rate back up.

Source: Flight International