Airbus plans to increase production of its A330 family of aircraft to seven a month from the start of 2017, reflecting ongoing demand for the twin-engine widebody.
The move to ramp up production was announced on February 24 (European time) when Airbus Group presented its calendar 2015 financial results.
It represents a change of course from the company, given A330 production was recently reduced from 10 aircraft a month to nine a month at the end of 2015 and cut again to six a month at the start of 2016.
At the time, the rate cuts reflected slower demand for the current A330-200 and A330-300 models ahead of the introduction of the new A330-800neo and A330-900neo (new engine option) in 2017.
The head of the Airbus A330 family of aircraft program Eric Zanin said the decision to lift production to seven a month highlighted ongoing good demand for the A330.
“The A330 has enjoyed additional commercial success in China, Saudi Arabia and South Africa among other countries,” Zanin told Airways News.
“Add to that healthy demand for the MRTT military derivative and you have an order book that can easily absorb an increase of one aircraft per month.”
The Airbus website showed the company had secured 1,610 orders for the A330 at January 31, with 1,261 aircraft delivered.
First deliveries of the A330neo were due to begin in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Recent A330 orders included 45 of the type from Iran Air – comprising 27 A330ceo family aircraft and 18 A330-900neos – in Februray, while France signed a follow-on order for eight Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft in December.