In anticipation of a strong recovery by July 2021, Airbus has set its eyes on increasing its production rate from 40 to 47 jets a month with India expected to figure prominently in its plans.
On Friday, news agency Reuters in a report said that despite the major slump in demand from airlines laboring under the current economic climate, Airbus will boost production of its A320-family aircraft by 18 percent. The latest move is a sign of encouragement to an industry that has had little to celebrate this year.
Airbus has informed suppliers to prepare for a ramp-up in A320 production next year, with the company set to increase its production rate from 40 to 47 jets a month, a report in Simply Flying said. While no firm decision has been made on scheduling, the company has penciled in a July 2021 date.
This week Air Asia India went on to receive its first A320 neo aircraft. The company will be taking the delivery of five fully-owned aircraft over the next few months. These orders were placed before the onset of the pandemic and will take the total fleet strength to 35. At present Air Asia India has a fleet strength of 30 A320s and one A320 neo.
In June after a conference call with analysts and investors following its fourth-quarter earnings, IndiGo Chief Executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta had said they were ‘in active discussions’ with Airbus.
During the same call, Mr. Dutta had confirmed that IndiGo had plans of returning its entire fleet of the 120 older, fuel-guzzling planes to lessors in the next two years.
A spokesman for Airbus was quoted by the above reports as saying that it was already planning to ramp-up A320 production before the coronavirus pandemic, with a backlog of orders stretching into 2025.
In September, IndiGo delivery of at least four Airbus 320 neos, including VT-ISO, its first with a CFM powered engine. The other aircraft being powered by engines manufactured by Pratt and Whitney.
An article in Simple Flying said that the plane maker was forced to slash its production rate of A320’s by a third in April as it responded to the coronavirus crisis. The latest news is a move towards re-establishing its pre-COVID rates of production, which for the A320 stood at 60 planes per month.