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Airbus to cut A330 production rate in 2015

A flight test engineer holds an Airbus Group flag after the first flight of the Airbus A320neo (New Engine Option) in Colomiers near Toulouse, southwestern France, September 25, 2014. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

BERLIN (Reuters) - Planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA) will cut production rates of its A330 plane to nine a month from 10 in the fourth quarter of 2015 as it switches to a revamped version of the jet, the A330neo.

Airbus launched the A330neo at Britain's Farnborough airshow in July and it is due to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Analysts had expected a production cut to six or eight a month for the traditional A330 over the next couple of years although Airbus has said it would seek to keep production levels fairly stable through the transition to the new version.

A spokesman said the cut in production would not result in job losses because the group is also ramping up production of the A350 jet, which is due to enter service this year with launch customer Qatar Airways.

"With the recent commercial success we've seen following the launch of the A330neo, in addition to the new 242 tonne weight variant and the A330 optimized for regional routes, we are confident we will sustain a steady production towards the A330neo ramp-up period," Tom Williams, Airbus executive vice president programs, said in a statement on Friday.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; editing by Jason Neely)