Airbus is beginning to see overbooking on the baseline A320, leaving the airframer confident that it will be able to maintain its monthly production rate of 42 aircraft as it transitions to the A320neo.
EADS chief financial officer Harald Wilhelm says the commercial momentum for both variants has been “outstanding”.
He says Airbus has recorded “overbooking” on the current A320, adding: “It’s allowed us to close the transition between the [A320] and the [A320neo].”
Airbus’s order data at the end of October officially listed 4,223 single-aisle aircraft in the backlog, including 1,771 current A320s.
Analysis of a tentative Airbus schedule for the production transition, based on a full cutover to the A320neo by the beginning of 2018, suggests this backlog exceeds the number of available slots.
Although Airbus still has potential manoeuvring room, arising from routine cancellations, the airframer has admitted that a small number of A320 orders have been converted to A320neos – further easing the pressure on the narrowing A320 line.
Wilhelm says the production rate for the A320neo could potentially be stepped up, but stresses that this will only occur once the airframer is “comfortable”, and that the “priority” for Airbus is to secure the transition to the A320neo at rate 42.