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Airbus considers raising A320 rate to 44

Airbus is studying the possibility of raising the A320-family production rate to as many as 44 aircraft a month but is yet to convince itself that suppliers will be able to cope with such an increase.

The European manufacturer has already pledged to step up single-aisle airliner production to 40 a month by the first quarter of 2012, up from the current rate of 36.

Speaking at parent company EADS's New Year reception in London on 11 January, Airbus executive vice-president programmes Tom Williams said that further incremental increases, to 42 and 44 aircraft a month, were under evaluation in the face of strong airline demand.

 ©Airbus

Describing the A320 as the company's "cash cow", Williams said the airframer recognised that lifting the production rate to as high as 44 could present "pretty significant challenges" for the programme's supply chain.

Airbus raised the A320-family production rate from 34 aircraft a month to 36 in 2010. The rate is due to climb to 38 by August before hitting a fresh peak of 40 in early 2012.

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