Airbus Cuts Plane Production By One Third

Airbus has reduced its aircraft production capability by around one third, to ‘adapt’ to the new coronavirus affected market. This will allow the builder to be flexible, save money and ensure employee safety.

Airbus production line
Airbus has slowed down production.  Photo: Getty Images

What are the details?

Airbus has decided to modify how many aircraft it builds per month in the face of the new conditions.

Previously Airbus would build:

  • 60 A320s per month
  • 3.25 A330s per month
  • 10 A350s per month

The new production goals are:

With these new production rates, Airbus will be in a better financial position, its suppliers will be able to better manage delivery deadlines and the airframe builder will be more flexible for the brave new world following the return of normal airline service. Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury commented in a press release sent to Simple Flying,

“Our airline customers are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We are actively adapting our production to their new situation and working on operational and financial mitigation measures to face reality.”

A320 factory
Airbus was previously making the narrowbody at a rate of 60 per month, with plans to ramp up this production. Photo: Airbus

Why is Airbus reducing production?

There are three main issues that Airbus is dealing with.

The first is the reduction in orders. Currently, many airlines around the world are in ‘saving’ mode and are trying to reduce as many costs as possible to get through this crisis. Numerous carriers have grounded aircraft and are not keen to add to that grounded capacity by taking delivery of new aircraft. We have seen plenty of airlines cancel or defer Airbus orders in recent weeks.

Additionally, Airbus is conscious that its employees might be at risk of infection if they were to stay on-site and continue to work as normal. Thus, this is a good excuse to get them to work at home or take holiday time until the crisis abates. Without all these workers, the airframe builder can’t maintain the same capacity.

Lastly, some airlines have been unable to take their existing new aircraft at the Airbus delivery center, and plenty more have deferred deliveries. Not wanting to repeat the Boeing mistake by having of Boeing 737 MAX’s spilling into the carpark, Airbus has decided to slow production.

Hi Fly A330
Hi Fly accepting its new A330neo at the Airbus delivery center. Photo: Simple Flying

“The impact of this pandemic is unprecedented. At Airbus, protecting our people and supporting the fight against the virus are our chief priorities at this time. We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together”, continued Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.

Airbus has also taken steps to make its workplace safer. It shut down production sites in France and Spain to roll out the new protective measures which included better cleaning, social distancing workplaces and, new health regulations. We also assume it involved giving employes the protective equipment to prevent infections.

What do you think of this news? Should Airbus be slowing down production? Let us know in the comments.