GE backs 'near-term' jet output plans at Airbus and Boeing -CEO

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A General Electric aircraft used for testing jet engines is shown at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California

By Rajesh Kumar Singh

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Jet engine maker General Electric Co is aligned with "near-term" plans of both Airbus and Boeing to ramp up production, its Chief Executive Larry Culp said on Tuesday.

Culp, however, declined to comment on Airbus' plan to go beyond an immediate ramp-up and almost double production of its best-selling A320 jets by 2025. This plan has drawn criticism from engine makers and aircraft leasing companies about the risk of overproduction during a fragile airline industry recovery from the pandemic.

"We will talk about those conversations with them directly behind closed doors," Culp told Reuters in an interview. "There is no need to have that conversation publicly at this time."

In May, Airbus announced a firm target of increasing A320-family production from 40 planes a month to 64 by the second quarter of 2023 and said it was asking suppliers to enable a "scenario" of 70 a month by the first quarter of 2024. The planemaker also said it was investigating rates as high as 75 by 2025.

Industry sources say suppliers have agreed to support the firm goal of 64 a month but have yet to reach agreement on supporting the higher rates, fearing that demand would fail to meet expectations.

Earlier, Raytheon Technologies Chief Executive Greg Hayes said he was skeptical whether the market would support Airbus rates as high as 75 a month.

Raytheon Technologies owns Pratt & Whitney which competes with GE-Safran venture CFM to supply jet engines for the best-selling Airbus A320 family.

(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh)

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