In the latest sign that demand for widebody aircraft is expected to continue to strengthen, Airbus will boost output for A330s to 10 units per month.

The airframer aims to reach this rate in the second quarter of 2013, about the same time that it wants to ramp up output of the A330 successor, the A350XWB. At the end of January, the current backlog for A330/A340 aircraft stood at 355 units, of which only four were for A340-500s and the rest for different A330 types.

Plans now call for A330/A340 production—currently at eight aircraft per month—to reach nine per month in early 2012 and 10 in the second quarter of 2013. The move is independent of a potential need to set up an A330 final assembly site in Mobile, Ala., should the company prevail in the U.S. Air Force KC-X tanker competition. Airbus already secured 14 new orders for A330s this year, although it also recorded the cancellation of 12 A330-200F freighters.