After Boeing shut its South Carolina site, thereby halting production of its 787 aircraft, Airbus has revealed it is revising its production rates in line with the knock-on effects of COVID-19. In a press release, the OEM said the aim is to “meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves.” Airbus has also been dedicating resources to creating and delivering equipment to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19.
Airbus is reducing its production rates by roughly a third in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. From now on, the OEM will manufacture 40 A320s, six A350s and two A330s per month.
“We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus’ CEO. “Our airline customers are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We are actively adapting our production to their new situation and working on operational and financial mitigation measures to face reality.”
After a strong start to the year, things started slowing down for the OEM, which delivered 36 aircraft in March compared to 55 in February. It said a further 60 aircraft were produced during the first quarter of 2020 (Q1 2020), but that they remain undelivered due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in requests from airlines to defer deliveries.
During Q1 2020, which consists of figures for January, February and March 2020 combined, Airbus booked 290 net commercial aircraft orders and delivered 122 aircraft. Of this total figure, March 2020 represented 21 net orders – ten of which were AA350-900s for an undisclosed customer – and 36 deliveries.
Broughton | @Airbus has donated more than 400,000 surgical masks to the #NHS to help in the fight against #COVID19. Another of our jets is picking up more masks from China this weekend ready to distribute across Europe. pic.twitter.com/Bf4gmOjXD7
— Airbus In The UK (@AirbusintheUK) April 4, 2020
To help combat the spread of coronavirus, Airbus has already shifted some of its resources to create and deliver medical equipment. Across Spain and in Germany, Airbus is using over 20 3D printers to create visor frames for healthcare personnel at nearby hospitals. The OEM is also using a range of its aircraft to collect face masks from China and deliver them across France, Germany, Spain and the UK.
Find out how other APEX members are dealing with COVID-19 in What We’re Made Of, a Q&A series that looks at how companies in aviation are tackling the challenges brought on by the pandemic. For up to date information on the COVID-19 is affecting the commercial aviation industry, click here.