Toulouse - Airbus has reached an agreement with its suppliers and, from 2019, the European aircraft manufacturer will be able to increase the production of its bestselling model A320neo. A total of 63 aircraft will then leave the production line per month.
In fact, Airbus wants to increase its production rate to 70 to 75 A320neo per month, but the suppliers oppose the manufacturer. In particular, Pratt & Whitney. The American engine manufacturer is currently struggling with the delivery targets, as it was thrown back by a series of breakdowns.
Airbus didn't want to comment on the increase in production rates so far. However, a spokesman said that the company has a large order backlog that entails it.
Airbus has received 6,031 orders for the A320neo series so far. 279 copies (253 A320neo and 26 A321neo) are already in service across the world.
Airbus' decision comes at a very strategic moment. The trade conflict between China and the US could cause Boeing to lag far behind of Airbus in Asia in the long term.
In such a scenario, Airbus could then raise the production rate to desired 70 A320neo per month in 2020/2021 after the intermediate step of 63 aircraft per month.
Airbus is examining a product update, "A320neo plus", which is to equip the model to compete better with the Boeing's upcoming MoM (Middle of Market) aircraft, the 797. With the 797 program, Boeing plans to dominate 220- and 280-seater segment by 2025.
New wings, aerodynamic fine-tuning and up to 250 seats are considered as starting points of the A320neo plus.