It's been two months since Boeing (NYSE: BA) confirmed plans to accelerate production of its super-successful 737 airliner to a record 42 planes per month...

But check your "six," Boeing investors. Airbus is hot on your heels. Last week, Airbus announced that it is also planning to pick up the pace of production -- specifically on the A320 jet that poses the 737's stiffest competition. Already cranking out A320s at the rate of 36 a month, Airbus now plans to ramp up to 40 by early next year, and then to 42.

In fact, says Airbus, if suppliers such as Eaton (NYSE: ETN), General Electric (NYSE: GE), and Honeywell (NYSE: HON) can take the stress, Airbus might even stomp on the gas and race past Boeing to a 44-planes-a-month production plan! (Considering Boeing's kept these same firms cooling their heels for three years, waiting for the 787 program to get back on track, I suspect they've got the capacity.)

Foolish takeaway
Both Airbus and Boeing are racing to dominate a market for transport aircraft that's expected to hit $4.7 trillion in value over the next 20 years. In so doing, they're ramping capacity and pushing supply chains to the limit -- accepting razor thin margins on some contracts, and hoping to make it up on volume. But … does any of this sound familiar to you, folks?

To me, this race to the "top" carries a worrisome echo of Toyota's run for the "No. 1" spot in global market share. That run not only contributed to General Motors' going bankrupt, but to Ford's near-death experience … and Toyota's own implosion. Whoever winds up winning the race for global aircraft market share … let's hope it doesn't turn into a Pyrrhic victory.

Will Boeing keep its eyes on the profits ball, or get caught up in a race to the bottom? Add the stock to your watchlist and find out.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of, nor is he short, any company named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. The Fool owns shares of Ford Motor. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended Ford Motor and General Motors. Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.