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Montreal, Canada - Airbus has announced that it delayed plans to ramp up A220 production as the global outbreak hit demand for new aircraft.

The plan was to increase the production up to ten aircraft per month from four at the manufacturer's Mirabel factory. In the present situation, Airbus has decided to delay it until mid-2021. The goal to build four A220 jets per month in the Mobile, Alabama factory, where a new assembly line has just been launched, remains unchanged.

Airbus had to suspend the production of A220 jets in Mirabel near the end of March due to local government restrictions, and the shutdown has now been extended until May 5.

Back in February, when Airbus raised its stake in the program to 75%, the company said the A220 was seeing “very strong demand” and was positioning it to help draw orders away from archrival Boeing's grounded 737 MAX. Since then, the coronavirus has forced airline customers to delay or cancel orders across aircraft models to conserve cash.

Faury’s pledge to invest between 500 million euros ($544 million) and 1 billion euros in the A220 operation this year remains unchanged, the spokeswoman said. She said a plan to squeeze costs from the program remains a top priority.

Airbus had earlier targeted producing 14 A220 aircraft a month at the two sites by the middle of the decade. Now the Toulouse, France-based company is reconsidering its previous assumptions, and may revisit the rate in the coming weeks and months, the spokesperson said.

Middle Eastern carrier SaudiGulf Airlines dropped an order for 16 Airbus A220-300 aircraft in last month. These aircraft were initially ordered before the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier sold the program to Airbus and when the A220 was known as the Bombardier CSeries.

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