According to Reuters, Airbus is planning to increase its production capacity for its most popular commercial plane, the A320, to 42 planes per month, up from an earlier target of 40 planes per month by the end of 2012.
Airbus is currently building A320s at a rate of 36 planes per month but with a backlog of more than 2,300 orders, the company is looking to increase capacity in order to get planes into customers hands at a faster rate. Even at the planned increase to 42 planes per month it would take Airbus over four and a half years to deliver all of its A320 orders not including any additional orders it receives in the future.
Along with getting planes into customers hand quicker, the increase should also help Airbus clear its backlog as it transitions to its next generation of the A320, the A320neo by the end of 2015. If the more fuel-efficient A320neo debuts with a large backlog of the previous model, Airbus will have too much overlap which could cause customers to hold out and wait for the newer model.
The move will help Airbus solidify its lead over Boeing as the world’s largest commercial planemaker as its American rival currently produces just over 31 models of its own narrowbody, the 737, per month. Boeing expects that number to increase by 2013 but even by then it will only be making 38 per month.
Regardless of who is capable of making more narrowbody planes going forth one thing is becoming increasingly clear: the future of plane production for both companies looks very bright as the world emerges from two years of dismal economic output.