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A220 has treble-figure annual production potential

Airbus believes there is sufficient demand in the market to support a potential A220 ramp-up at least to 100 aircraft per year.

The airframer is aiming to deliver 18 of the twinjets over the second half of this year, following its acquisition of the former Bombardier CSeries programme.

But speaking during a half-year briefing, Airbus chief financial officer Harald Wilhelm said there was “clearly” potential to take annual production to 100 aircraft and beyond – although he stopped short of forecasting when such output might be achieved.

Chief executive Tom Enders supported this outlook, declaring that there was “no doubt” that the A220 would be a “great success story”.

He points out that the “unanimous” customer feedback on the aircraft was one of the factors which convinced Airbus to proceed with the programme acquisition.

“This aircraft is over-performing against what the manufacturer committed to,” says Enders, adding that it is capable of capturing half of the market demand with Airbus’s backing.

The airframer has yet to determine how the production rates will be split between the Mirabel line and the planned new assembly facility in Mobile from 2020.

“We know the US market is the single largest market for this type of aircraft,” says Enders. “We know we can ramp this up further. There are a lot of variables in this equation but they all point in a positive direction.”

Airbus is introducing the A220 as part of its single-aisle line.

Deliveries of its own A319, which competes in the 130-seat sector, have declined over the past decade. It produced 105 A319s in 2007 and 98 the following year, but output has dwindled with a total of just 40 aircraft leaving the assembly line since the beginning of 2015.

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