Airbus may boost capacity as boom looms

Artist's conception of the Boeing 737 MAX

Artist's conception of the Boeing 737 MAX

Airbus hopes to lift production capacity by a third, as it tries to keep up with demand for its revamped A320neo aircraft, a French newspaper reported on Thursday.

The A320neo is a version of Airbus’s best-selling 150-seat passenger jet which will be equipped with fuel-saving engines and delivered in 2015. It competes with Boeing’s 737 in the market for single-aisle jets.

La Tribune, citing unidentified sources, said the order book was so well filled that Airbus could barely satisfy big contracts from carriers to have the jet at their disposal at the end of this decade.

No one was available to comment at Airbus.

“There could be delays that are too long for some clients, who could instead turn to Boeing… ” La Tribune cited an expert as saying. “The only solution for Airbus is to increase the rate of production.”

Airbus is looking to produce more than 50 of the aircraft a month by the second half of 2018 — over 600 a year, up from 38 a month or 456 a year, a source close to Airbus’s executive board said, according to La Tribune.

Boeing saw Airbus grab the largest share of a record order in July from American Airlines, once an exclusive Boeing customer.

In an attempt to challenge Airbus’s revamped A320neo family, Boeing said end last month it planned to roll out a more efficient version — the 737 MAX — of its best-selling 737 narrow-body, with a new engine in 2017.

(Reuters)



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