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Airbus tells suppliers to gear up for 18% hike in A320 output

written by Hannah Dowling | May 12, 2021

A320 family in formation (Airbus)

Airbus has warned a number of its suppliers to gear up for a potential further 18 per cent increase in current targets for the planemaker’s A320 family output by the end of 2022.

Industry sources close to the matter reportedly told Reuters that the European planemaker has given its suppliers a heads-up to prepare for a near 20 per cent hike in output of its popular mid-sized A320 jet family in the next 18 months, as the industry eyes a return to normal traffic levels.

It comes as analysts and industry consensus sees narrow-bodied medium-haul aircraft leading the aircraft market recovery prospects, due to their appropriate size amid post-pandemic travel demand.

Airbus is therefore looking to hike its output for A320-family jets to 53 per month, sources say, from the current rate of 40 per month.

Airbus previously committed in January that it would raise its A320 output to 43 per month in Q3 2021, and 45 by the end of the year.

While an Airbus spokesperson said they would not comment on the speculation, they did note that “we see the market recovering to pre-COVID levels in the 2023-2025 time frame, with single-aisle recovering first”, though added “uncertainties remain”.

Meanwhile, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said last month Airbus aimed for a “steep ramp-up” in 2022 and 2023.


The news comes as the European planemaker announced it delivered 45 new commercial aircraft to customers in April 2021, to a total of 30 different customers.

The April results bring Airbus’ total deliveries to 170 for the year-to-date, up 25 per cent from the same period in 2020, when airlines were first beginning to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airbus also received 48 new orders in April, largely bolstered by an order of 25 A321neo jets from Delta Air Lines.

The majority of the remaining orders included a mix of A320neo and A321neo jets for Dublin-based lessor Avalon.

The planemaker also saw 22 new cancellations, bringing its total orders for the year so far to minus 35 after cancellations.

However, Airbus has said it is confident that market conditions are improving, particularly in key markets such as the US and China, where vaccination campaigns have been successful.

Despite an apparent recovery in Airbus’ delivery rates, where planemakers make the bulk of their cash, analysts suggest that deliveries continue to lag behind production rates, which could see Airbus with a surplus of nearly 100 undelivered jets by the end of 2021.

Additionally, Airbus might still take a hit to its delivery prospects in light of the ongoing COVID crisis in India, one of its key markets.

An Airbus spokesperson stated that Airbus is aware that the recovery trajectory of its deliveries may not be linear. However, the company has kept its targets unchanged.

It also follows the news that Airbus recorded a first-quarter profit of €362 million.

The strong result was driven by new orders for 39 new commercial aircraft orders and 40 helicopters, including two Super Puma Family rotorcraft and one H160. Meanwhile, its defence and space division’s order value was €2.0 billion.

“The good Q1 results mainly reflect our commercial aircraft delivery performance, cost and cash containment, progress with the restructuring plan as well as positive contributions from our helicopter and defence and space activities,” said Faury.

“The first quarter shows that the crisis is not yet over for our industry, and that the market remains uncertain. We are investing in innovation and in the transformation of our company to deliver on our long-term ambitions across the portfolio.”


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