With its first quarter report, Airbus announced record jet output goals, with a 50% planned increase in the narrowbody jet output, a key aircraft of the company. The foreseen growth is based on the expectation of a steady travel rebound in the US market, where the European exporter plans to deepen its industrial footprint.
According to their statement, the plan is to increase the production of the A320 Family to 65 planes per month by next year and a further increase to 75 jets per month by 2025, a 50% increase compared to the 50 planes per month produced now.
With the aviation industry starting its recovery as the pandemic slowly fades away and Boeing still suffering from the 737 MAX incidents, Airbus has outperformed its competitor and saw a higher that expected profit in the first quarter.
The world’s largest plane maker will now need to open an additional assembly line for the A320 models in Mobile, Alabama, thus increasing its presence right on Boeing’s territory. At the moment, Airbus has plans for 9 assembly lines across Europe, the US and China for the industry’s most sold category of jet, while US airlines have already made orders for hundreds of single aisled planes.
We can go faster in Mobile and will be gaining critical mass. It will benefit the whole ecosystem of Airbus and benefit all our sites.Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO
Despite the new production line, the company’s CEO Guillaume Faury clarified that the better part of manufacturing will remain in Europe, where the main parts of the aircraft will continue to be built.
However, experts believe that such goals are unattainable in light of the supply chain problems that could impede the entire manufacturing process. “There’s going to be acute bottlenecks all the way down the supply chain from engines down to the lowly widget makers,” says former leasing executive Dick Forsberg, senior adviser at PWC. Former banker Bertrand Grabowski highlights that Airbus increased its output targets at a time when it cannot deliver current orders without delays.
Addressing the concerns, the company admitted there are some short-term risks in its supply chain, but said it is confident a global network of suppliers will be able to keep up. At the same time, it announced a delay to early 2024 of its newest jet, the A321XLR.