Airbus execs to look again at A320 production rates

Published: 1 June 2020 - 3 a.m.
By: Aviation Business

Airbus executives are meeting this week to discuss production rates of the A320 aircraft, among a number of other measures being looked at in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according sources cited in a report by Bloomberg.

While a reassessment of production does not necessarily mean a reduction in rates, a cut would align with Airbus’ plans to reduce its workforce by around 10%.

Airbus cut production of its planes by a third in April, reducing output of its best-selling A320 to 40 aircraft per month because of the impact of coronavirus on demand for new jets.

Guillaume Faury, Airbus’ chief executive, said at the time that the planemaker would reassess production rates again by June.

“We will have a more granular picture; it should not change significantly compared to what we have already done, but it could change slightly,” Mr Faury said on a conference call.

Airlines remain in dire straits and with many expected to burn through their final cash reserves in the second quarter, analysts believe Airbus will struggle to get carriers to receive new deliveries in the near-term.

Customers have already asked to defer deliveries of both narrow-body and wide-body jets, with deliveries almost halving in March when countries began entering lockdowns and borders were closed.

As well as reducing A320 production, Airbus has cut production of its A350 and A330 wide-bodies by 40%.

Airlines have been retiring their A380 superjumbos early too, with Emirates reportedly seeking to cancel the final five deliveries left on its order.

Airbus posted a €481 million ($522m) loss in the first quarter of this year and revenues in its commercial airline business dropped 22% to €7.6 billion.

The company will announce its monthly order-and-delivery totals for May later this week.

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