Airbus is cutting aircraft production by a third as airlines struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The production rate of its A320 aircraft will fall to 40 per month from 60, while the company will produce two A330 aircraft per month instead of six and will cut its production of A350 aircraft to six per month from 10.
“With these new rates, Airbus preserves its ability to meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves,” said Airbus in a statement posted on its website.
The moves come as airlines around the world face a fallout amid the coronavirus pandemic that has led to a drop in travel demand and border closures imposed by various governments in an effort to contain the spread of the disease. Many airlines have sought to defer or cancel orders for aircraft and some have even grounded their fleets.
Airbus received 21 net orders and made 36 aircraft deliveries in March across the different aircraft families, down from the 55 aircraft that were delivered in February.
The European aerospace group said the lower number of deliveries reflects customer requests to defer deliveries and “other factors related to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic”.
The company also said it booked 290 net commercial aircraft orders and delivered 122 aircraft during the first quarter of this year. Airbus has built 60 aircraft during the quarter which remain undelivered because of the pandemic. It added that a further 60 aircraft were produced during the quarter, but they remain undelivered due to the evolving coronavirus pandemic.
Airbus’ chief executive officer Guillaume Faury said the impact of the pandemic is unprecedented.
“At Airbus, protecting our people and supporting the fight against the virus are our chief priorities at this time. We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together”, said Faury.
“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,” he added.