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Airbus to trim A330 output but seeks higher A320 rates

Airbus is to trim total A330 deliveries to around 50 next year, after a review of the twinjet programme.

This would effectively reduce monthly production to around four or five aircraft compared with the current rate of six.

Airbus had previously hinted at a possible increase in rate to seven but last year backed away from this possibility.

It delivered 67 of the twinjets last year, but has handed over only eight – compared with the previous figure of 13 – over the first quarter of this year.

The airframer did not secure any orders for the A330 during the quarter.

Airbus had a backlog of 303 A330s by the end of March, of which 214 were re-engined A330neos. The remaining 89 comprised 48 A330-300s, 37 A330-200s, and four A330-200 freighters.

The airframer is embarking on serial production of the A330neo and is set to deliver the first to TAP Portugal this summer.

Airbus says the decision to reduce the production rate follows a "current programme assessment".

But it has started a feasibility study with suppliers to "investigate" higher monthly rates, 70 or above, for its A320-family programme, as it seeks to address the "robust" backlog for the re-engined A320neo.

Airbus has already committed to increasing A320 monthly output to 60 aircraft from mid-2019, but has repeatedly signalled that it is interested in higher rates.

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