Airbus vows to recapture top spot

Airbus sees continued strength in the aircraft market and may be able to increase production of its most popular jets beyond their planned rates if that trend continues, the head of the European planemaker said yesterday.

An Airbus A320

Fabrice Bregier, chief executive of the plane making unit of Airbus Group, said he believed Airbus would eventually recapture the top plane making slot from Boeing as its new A350 jet comes into its own, but market share came second to profitable growth.

Airbus is well placed to deliver 15 of the wide-body A350 planes this year and continues to expect more orders than deliveries in 2015, he said.

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Airbus plans to raise output of its best-selling A320 model to 50 planes a month from 42 a month between now and 2017 and has talked of pushing output even further to 60 or beyond. Rival Boeing is on a similar course with its competing 737 jet.

“The market is very strong and we have said we can produce 50 (A320s) a month by 2017 and if the market remains supported there is the possibility to go higher,” Bregier said.

Airbus and Boeing are increasingly reliant on such models to drive profits and provide the cash needed to complete new jets or carry out upgrades to other types of aircraft.

Bregier reiterated Airbus would not abandon the much larger A380 after an order slump for that model.