Airbus cuts A320 production and freezes A330/340 rate

By David Kaminski-Morrow

Airbus is cutting by two aircraft a month its production rate for A320-family jets, a shift that will come into effect from October this year.

The airframer is also backtracking on plans to increase widebody A330 and A340 production, opting instead to freeze the rate at 8.5 per month.

It has not indicated any change to A380 production targets. There will also be no impact on employment, says the company, which says the decision follows an assessment of market demand and uncertainty over the economic downturn.

Airbus describes the rate cut as a "precautionary measure" but insists it has not changed delivery targets for the year. It aims to achieve "similar" delivery figures to last year's total of 483.

Chief executive Tom Enders says that flexibility is "essential", adding: "We reached record production rates in late 2008, but now we see a drop of air traffic in most regions. Many airlines are taking capacity out of the market.

"I do not exclude further production cuts if the need arises."

Airbus adds that its Power8 restructuring initiative, combined with its order backlog, place the company in a strong position to cope with the current economic situation.

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