Note: This has updated information from its distribution to our e-newsletter recipients a week ago.
Boeing is on a path to overtake Airbus in producing single-aisle aircraft by the end of this decade.
In the hotly contested single-aisle sector, which Airbus currently leads, both OEMs are essentially sold out through 2019. Few delivery slots can by found by either of the Big Two. Airbus already plans to boost production of the A320 family to 46/mo in 2016, when its new Mobile (AL) plant comes on line. It will initially produce 4/mo but has the capacity for 8/mo. It’s Tianjin, China, plant is producing at a rate of 4/mo and likewise has the capacity to go to 8/mo. The Toulouse and Hamburg plants are understood to be at capacity now, giving Airbus a total capacity of 59/mo: Hamburg can produce 25/mo and Toulouse 18/mo.
Boeing is taking 737 production to 47/mo in 2017 and will announce soon whether to take production rates higher. We understand Boeing has already concluded it can boost rates to 52/mo, probably starting around 2019. We reported more than a year ago that Boeing was also considering boosting rates to 60/mo. Its Renton facility, where 737s are assembled, has the capacity for 63/mo.
If Boeing takes rates to 60/mo–and it’s dependent upon the supply chain, of course–a rate break would likely come in increments from the 52/mo. A jump of 8/mo from 52 in one increment would be unlikely. We therefore think achieving this rate would be by the middle of the next decade.
Airbus would almost certainly match. Could Airbus achieve even higher rates at any of its facilities through better efficiencies? Or would Airbus have to build yet another assembly site, its fifth?
It’s too soon to say.