As signalled by EADS late last week, Airbus is once again raising the single aisle production rate.

The company now plans to build 42 A320 family aircraft starting in the fourth quarter of 2012. The previous plan already called for production to reach 40 units early that year.

Airbus says it is on course to raise output to 38 units per month from 36 by August across its three final assembly sites in Hamburg, Toulouse, and Tianjin.

Widebody output also is going up to ten units in 2013 from 8.5 a month now coming off the line.

Airbus says the move reflects strong backlog and order activity.

In announcing the move, Airbus executive vice president for programs, Tom Williams says “with a backlog of over 2,300 A320 Family aircraft to deliver, we need to increase production to accommodate continuing strong customer demand for these new eco-efficient aircraft.”

The 42 rate is the highest ever for Airbus. The company had explored a rate of 44 units, but for now feels that would be too much of a strain on a supply chain also trying to cope with strong demand from Boeing.