Airbus ramps up production rate

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Airbus announced today that by the end of 2009 it will have increased the monthly production rate of its single-aisle A320 Family from 32 to 40.

According to a statement, Airbus’ decision to continue to ramp-up its production rate was driven by a continuing strong demand for its aircraft and a backlog in excess of 2,500 aircraft.

The A330/A340 Family is currently produced at a rate of seven aircraft per month. This is due to increase to eight in 2008 and nine in 2009. Airbus is currently considering a further production rate increase for the A330/A340 Family that will be decided in the coming weeks.

According to Airbus, the A320 Family has already reached the highest jet airliner production rate in the history of aviation. By March 2008, output is set to reach 34, then 36 in December 2008. The new monthly production rate of 40 will be achieved in continuation of this steady ramp-up, first rising to 38 by mid 2009 and reaching 40 by the end of 2009.

Currently the A320 Family is assembled in Toulouse and Hamburg. From 2008, the production rate will include aircraft assembled at a third final assembly line in Tianjin, China, with aircraft sections coming from Europe.

The new assembly line in China is a joint venture between a Chinese consortium, led by the Tianjin Free Trade Zone, and Airbus. The facility will produce two aircraft per month end of 2009, rising to four in 2011. These are included in the total of 40 per month.

At the end of April, Airbus’ order book for A320 Family aircraft stood at 5,076 firm orders from 180 customers, outperforming the 600 orders that were estimated when the programme was launched.

In the past two years, the A320 Family has received orders of around 1,600 aircraft.