The head of Airbus said in remarks published today that the European planemaker faces two further “difficult” years and does not rule out making further production cuts if necessary to adjust to demand.
“I certainly cannot exclude that we will cut back production even more,” Chief Executive Tom Enders told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.
“I think we still have two difficult years ahead of us.”
Airbus last year suspended plans to increase production of its top-selling single-aisle, A320-family jets to 40 planes a month and in February this year it decided to cut that production to 34 a month from 36 a month from October 2009, Reuters reports.
Production rates of the wide-body A330/A340 family would be paused at the current level of 8.5 a month, and not increased further as previously planned, the planemaker said in February.
Airbus delivered an average of 32.75 A320-family jets a month between January and August, according to latest monthly company figures. It delivered an average of 10.6 A330/340s a month in the same period.
In April, US rival Boeing said production of its 777 minijumbo would fall to five from seven per month beginning in June 2010 and that it would delay plans to modestly increase production of its new 747-8 jumbo and 767 widebody models.
No changes were planned for the single-aisle 737, which competes directly with the Airbus A320 series.
Although new plane orders have slumped because of the financial crisis, Airbus and Boeing are still catching up with demand from an order boom that ended last year since there is a backlog of several years in the order book.
Airbus has said it is on track to match last year’s record deliveries of 483 planes.
Some industry analysts and suppliers have questioned whether production rates are sustainable because of the shortage of cash and finance for airlines, which must pay for planes on delivery.
Failing to cut production creates the risk of making so-called “white tails” that leave the factory floor without a buyer and have have to be parked idle at the jetmaker’s expense.
Pic: Airbus 350- Finnar Airways