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Airbus eyes shallower industrial recovery after snags - sources

Airbus aims for 65 jets a month in late 2024 - sources
Airbus aims for 65 jets a month in late 2024 - sources Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
Published on Updated
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By Tim Hepher

PARIS -Airbus is tempering the pace of planned production increases due in part to the limited availability of engines for new airplane production, industry sources said on Wednesday.

The planemaker, which softened output goals last month, now expects to reach an interim production target of 65 single-aisle jets a month in late 2024 and an ultimate target of 75 a month in 2026, months later than originally planned, they said.

The shallower "hockey stick" recovery would allow Airbus' COVID 19-wounded supply chain to reset and prepare a more reliable catch-up from mid-decade following widespread snags.

The conservative strategy suggests a realistic delivery goal for 2023 may not significantly exceed the 720 units originally slated for 2022 - a target eventually abandoned in December, a senior industry source said.

Another said there was still room for some further increase.

An Airbus spokesperson declined to comment.

Airbus last year posted 661 jet deliveries, though the best gauge of its industrial capacity was the slightly higher number of 663 physical deliveries before an accounting adjustment.

Engine makers are under pressure to divert engines to their existing fleets to cope with a sharp rebound in travel demand, often at the expense of supplies for new jet production.

Although engine factories are raising output, planemakers have received sober estimates in recent weeks of the available growth in supplies earmarked for new planes, the sources said.

In December, Airbus reaffirmed an interim production goal of 65 A320neo-family jets a month but withdrew its implementation date, saying it would adjust the ramp-up during 2023 and 2024.

It also softened the deadline for an ultimate target of 75 a month to the "middle of the decade" from 2025.

The brake on output in the face of rising demand is a headache Chief Executive Guillaume Faury, who reaffirmed on Tuesday that "we plan to ramp up production of our A320 family to 75 aircraft each month by the middle of the decade".

Airbus has told some suppliers that this still implies the goal will not be reached before 2026, the sources said.

The slower production ramp-up means delaying taking new parts while Airbus stabilises a network of 3,000 suppliers - a move likely to rattle small suppliers forced to hold more inventory while they keep their own machines running.

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