Airbus should tread carefully

  • Airbus announces is 2023 earnings on Feb. 15.

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 By the Leeham News Team


Feb. 12, 2024, © Leeham News: United Airlines has reportedly been looking to Airbus to replace the Boeing 737 Max 10s that Boeing is having difficulty delivering, due to the Alaska Airlines accident and the resulting delays in certification to the Max 7, Max 10 & 777X programs. Airbus has been searching for ways to recover/create slots to take on a premium customer and poach them from Boeing.

A320 production rates are headed towards 75 a month in the 2025/2026 time frame, with Airbus confident that its supply chain can meet the demand and will commit to the rate for the long term. These are record production numbers with the previous high-water mark reached in 2019 with 863 total deliveries: 642 of those from the A320neo family, or 54 a month. The A220 program is also headed for an increased production rate of 14 a month at about the same time.

However, Airbus has its own kinks to work out, along with concerns outside its control:

  • Geared Turbofan (GTF) on wing engine issues from supplier Pratt Whitney.
  • The A220 & A330Neo lines aren't selling as well as they’d like to
  • 2024 US presidential election could really upend the apple cart.
  • Another Max accident would be a bad thing, even for Airbus (more below).

There has been speculation and calls for Airbus to push the envelope even more, reaching 90 a month to offset the Boeing shortcomings.

75 & 14 a month are already huge goals and pushing suppliers to go past those targets might compromise quality. People will cut corners when they are greedy. Besides, a little scarcity when you are the top dog isn't the worst thing; Boeing isn't coming to the party with anything new in the near future.

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