European airframer Airbus has outlined its manufacturing plans as the aviation industry recovers from the coronavirus pandemic which saw it grind to a halt globally.
Airbus says that it still expects the industry to recover to pre-covid levels somewhere between 2023 and 2025 and believes, for aerospace companies, this will be led by the single-aisle market such as Airbus’ A320 family.
The reason is partly that short-haul air travel is likely to outweigh long-haul travel for some time and also that with the introduction of aircraft such as the A321LR, many transatlantic flights will now be operated by single-aisle airliners which are more efficient.
“The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis”, said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. “The message to our supplier community provides visibility to the entire industrial ecosystem to secure the necessary capabilities and be ready when market conditions call for it. In parallel, we are transforming our industrial system by optimising our aerostructures set-up and modernising our A320 Family production facilities. All these actions are set in motion to prepare our future.”
Production by Airbus will a large impact on the UK recovery post-covid. The wings for all Airbus A3XX airliners are made at the plant at Broughton North Wales whilst its engineering sites around the UK including Newport and Bristol employ hundreds of people.
Planned Airbus Production Rates
A320 Family: Airbus confirms an average A320 Family production rate of 45 aircraft per month in Q4 2021 and calls on suppliers to prepare for the future by securing a firm rate of 64 by Q2 2023. In anticipation of a continued recovering market, Airbus is also asking suppliers to enable a scenario of rate 70 by Q1 2024. Longer-term, Airbus is investigating opportunities for rates as high as 75 by 2025.
A220 Family: Currently at around the rate of five aircraft per month from Mirabel and Mobile, the rate is confirmed to rise to around six in early 2022. Airbus is also envisaging a monthly production rate of 14 by the middle of the decade.
A350 Family: Currently at an average production rate of five per month, this is expected to increase to six by autumn 2022.
A330 Family: Production remains at an average monthly production rate of two per month.