When Will Airbus And Boeing Return To Pre-Covid-19 Production Rates?

pandemic effect
Credit: Airbus

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When do you think Airbus and Boeing will return to pre-COVID-19 production rates?

Aviation Week Executive Editor, Commercial Aviation, Jens Flottau answers:

The return to pre-coronavirus rates will take a number of years and varies greatly by program. In general, narrowbodies will probably return more quickly. At Airbus, the fastest program to return could be the A220, which was still at a relatively low production rate and in an early phase of industrial ramp-up when the crisis hit. It could surpass 2019 production levels by 2022. The A320neo family will likely see recovery to monthly production rates in the high 40s over the next five years, but it might not return to 60 or more aircraft per month in this decade. Airbus will also have to be prepared for a long, slow recovery of widebody rates, with the A350 likely in a better position than the A330neo.

Predictions are even harder to make for Boeing. The 737 MAX was already grounded globally before COVID-19 hit, and it faces a daunting challenger in Airbus’ A321neo, which the market is favoring over the 737-9 or -10. It is feasible the MAX will never return to the rates Boeing once envisaged, forcing the company to develop a successor sooner than planned to regain market share. The 787 seems well-placed for an early return, but the 777X may prove too large for what post-COVID-19 airlines want.

Jens Flottau

Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Jens is executive editor and leads Aviation Week Network’s global team of journalists covering commercial aviation.