PARIS --- The world’s largest planemaker Airbus has taken the industry by surprise by asking suppliers to prepare for a sharp increase in production after the coronavirus crisis - yet at the same time it quietly delayed its timetable for recovery.
Airbus said on Thursday it had asked suppliers to be ready to support an 18% increase in output of its best-selling A320 jet in the second half of 2021, partially reversing cuts when the virus provoked a global slump in travel.
That pushed the European company’s shares up 6%, but also risks upsetting unions facing job cuts and governments being asked to dig into their coffers for crisis support.
It divided analysts over whether airlines, many facing reduced furlough schemes, are ready for more jets.
“It is very unlikely that there will be any demand for up to 47 Airbus single-aisle aircraft a month in second half 2021. Very few airlines want more capacity at the moment and this will continue for a while,” said Bertrand Grabowski, an aviation banker turned independent adviser.
Airbus, which must garner political and union support for 15,000 job cuts, has for weeks been giving mixed signals. (end of excerpt)
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