PARIS/MUNICH, April 29 (Reuters) – European planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA) looks set to raise narrowbody jetliner production for 2024 after reaching a compromise deal with at least two suppliers following months of wrangling over the speed of post-pandemic recovery.
The world’s largest planemaker is restoring and slightly expanding pre-pandemic output for best-selling models as traffic rebounds in the West, but has been struggling to persuade engine makers to place the bets needed to go significantly further.
France’s Safran (SAF.PA), which co-produces engines with General Electric (GE.N) under their CFM venture, and Germany’s MTU Aero Engines (MTXGn.DE), affiliated with Pratt & Whitney (RTX.N), both said they had struck deals with Airbus on 2024.
“It corresponds to the quantity that we had committed to before the crisis and given (this), we were naturally able to reach agreement on a quantity to supply in 2024,” Safran Chief Executive Olivier Andries told reporters.
He would not discuss specifics except to say the new target differs from 2023, effectively ruling out a flattening of production of the A320neo which competes with Boeing’s 737 MAX.
Airbus declined to comment ahead of results next week. Chief Executive Guillaume Faury on Thursday restated firm plans to raise A320-family output to 65 a month by summer 2023.
Airbus has said it aims to take a decision by mid-year on whether to go further and raise monthly output to 70 in the first quarter of 2024 and as high as 75 by 2025.