Airbus likely to take A320 rate hike decision this year: Bregier

Airbus is likely to make a decision this year on a further production rate increase for the A320 family, as chief executive Fabrice Bregier suggested that a hike would be inevitable.

The airframer is already committed to raising monthly output to 50 aircraft, but believes there is potential for greater rates.

“I think it’s more a matter of ‘when’ we ramp up, than ‘if’ we ramp up,” said Bregier, speaking during a briefing in Toulouse. Chief operating officer for customers John Leahy had earlier indicated that rates as high as 63 might be justified by the A320neo backlog.

But while there is additional monthly potential beyond 50 aircraft, says Bregier, Airbus and its supply chain would need to “digest” an increase, and this is “not a given”.

“If we want to continue to ramp up, we have to look more carefully at ramp-up of specific parts linked to [the A320neo],” he says.

“We have not yet made up our mind and we have some time to do that. I think that we need – if we want to continue to ramp up later – to take a decision this year.”

Bregier says the airframer is “inclined to go” with a further ramp-up. “But we’ll go when we believe we have a market, first thing, and also when we have clear commitments from our main suppliers.”