Production of mainline jets is set to reach 1,600 units this year as Airbus and Boeing gear up for a big output push.

The rise, from a combined 1,481 units in 2017, will represent an increase of around 8%, the largest percentage change in annual output since 2012 and similar to the rate of increase in 2013. The rate rises add more strain to an already under-pressure supply chain.

Based on the OEMs’ most recent statements on their 2018 outlook, Boeing will remain the market leader delivering between 810 and 815 aircraft. This is a 6-6.8% increase on the US manufacturer’s 763 deliveries in 2017.

Airbus is aiming to close in on its rival with commercial aircraft president Fabrice Bregier saying last month that he expected output to increase from 718 deliveries last year to "close to 800" in 2018.

The main driver in the production hike is the continuing expansion of single-aisle production. Last year, Airbus shipped 558 A320 family aircraft while Boeing produced 529 737s – a combined 1,087 deliveries. This year, combined single-aisle output is likely to exceed 1,200 units.

Speaking in January about 2017’s orders and deliveries, Bregier forecast that Airbus single-aisle production will be “well above rate 60 [a month] in 2019” with “much greater potential beyond that”. The outgoing executive added that he expected “in 2020 that Airbus will become the leader in not only the sales, but also the deliveries”.

Source: Cirium Dashboard