Airbus said it would like to get the certification of its enhanced service package for A320 family aircraft completed by the end of 2010. The programme, the Touluse, France-based manufacturer said, is currently at its "mid-life" stage.
Originally certified to operate for 48,000 cycles/60,000 flight hr., the A 320 family has an initial enhanced target of 60,000 cycles/120,000 hr. and a subsequent target of "as much as is economically feasible."
Airbus, which has an order backlog of 2,668 for the A320 family aircraft, was speaking to the media at the annual Technical Press Briefing held in Toulouse.
Airbus said that a retrofit would also be made available. It said that it spends more than €100 million ($154.6 million) each year on development engineering and upgrades for the A320 family.
Future initiatives include "Brake to Vacate" technology and more efficient taxiing (including electric taxi). It also has identified two tonnes of weight reduction, achievable through "simple modifications," it said.
It will also invest €270 million over the next two years in production rate increases for the aircraft. It currently assembles 34 aircraft a month, which it will increase to 38 by the end of 2009. By 2010 it hopes to produce 40 A320 family aircraft per month.
According to current plans, it will manufacture 22 aircraft in Hamburg, 14 in Toulouse and four at the final assembly line currently under construction in Tianjin.
The Chinese facility will be capable of producing up to seven aircraft a month, although current plans are to keep production pegged at just four. First delivery will be in 2009 to Shenzhen Airlines.
Airbus is targeting 2011 for the 5,000th delivery of an A320 family aircraft and 2016-17 for aircraft No. 7,000. The 3,000th A320 was delivered last year.
Production of the A320 began in 1988.