Stopping Production Is Generally Not Feasible For Airframers

Airbus A350 production line
Airbus reduced A350 production to six from an average 9.5 aircraft per month.
Credit: Airbus

If commercial aerospace industry production decisions were defined strictly by customer demand and no other considerations, the best move manufacturers could make at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic would be simply to shut down temporarily and reopen when things get better. As the most recent monthly delivery figures for Boeing and Airbus show, hardly any customer is taking delivery of new aircraft and probably none want to. The few exceptions are providing a very limited stream of revenue to an industry on the brink.


That OEMs still are producing aircraft in spite of the overwhelming odds they are facing indicates the complexities of their business and the many other factors they need to take into account.

Keeping intact as much of the supply chain as possible is one main reason for the relatively high level of production. Shutting down production lines potentially shuts down thousands of suppliers, almost all of whom built up staff and fixed assets to meet prepandemic historic levels of A&D business.

The bottom line is that stopping production is generally not a feasible option for many different reasons.