Airbus open to new output hike, no decision yet - CEO
PARIS, July 20
PARIS, July 20 (Reuters) - Airbus (EAD.PA) is ready to look "seriously" at boosting A320 narrowbody production beyond an already record target, but has not yet committed to this, its top official said on Wednesday.
Speaking by telephone from the United States after celebrating a major order from American Airlines AMR.N, part of a record 460-plane purchase shared with Boeing (BA.N), Enders said a boom in plane production was fed by genuine demand.
Asked whether a spate of recent sales committed Airbus to revising up its production targets, Enders said, "We have not committed to it but we will seriously look into that.
"If somebody had asked me a year ago whether we should seriously consider looking above 42, 44 or 50 I would have said 'you must be out of your mind,' but we are having a big success in the marketplace and this is real -- we are not producing overcapacity."
He added, "We are certainly looking at much more significant ramp-up targets than we hitherto did."
Airbus has set plans to lift production to 42 narrowbody airplanes a month and said in May it was considering 44.
Enders told a news conference on Wednesday Airbus had always been "prudent" about production and would continue to be so.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh said uncertainty over the ability of the production system to cope with a completely new airplane had contributed to Boeing's decision to follow Airbus and put new engines on the 737, which competes with the Airbus A320, rather than attempt a complete overhaul.