Airbus facing jet delivery cutbacks in 2023 owing to competition for engines

Take-off of A320neo aircraft ©Airbus

While Airbus is currently remaining quiet until it releases its next delivery bulletin in December, unnamed internal sources have commented that the European plane manufacturer is expecting to face further delays in 2023 for the delivery of its medium-haul aircraft owing to supply chain and labour problems, predominantly focused on the supply of engines. Part of the cause relates to further supply chain problems being faced by engine manufacturers which has seen them face an unusual dilemma.

The rapid return to service of many aircraft after being grounded during the pandemic has caught many repair shops off guard and, consequently, they are placing greater-than-anticipated demand on engine manufacturers not just for spare parts, but also spare engines for existing aircraft. This has created competition for engines between assembly lines for new aircraft and spares for existing fleets. Currently there is a logjam of grounded aircraft awaiting engines coming out of overhaul facilities.

In the medium-haul market sector, Airbus produces the A320neo-family jet with a choice of engines from General Electric and Safran joint venture CFM International or Raytheon Technologies’ unit Pratt & Whitney. Boeing uses only CFM engines for its 737 family of aircraft. There are indications that the total number of laid-up A320neo-family jets has risen since early this year, led by Pratt & Whitney-powered versions.

As reported by Reuters news agency, according to Ascend by Cirium’s head of global consulting Rob Morris, currently some 129 Pratt-powered Airbus jets and 55 fitted with CFM’s LEAP engines are parked up. Engine makers have denied that the delay in jet deliveries is being caused by delayed engine supplies but other supply chain problems, such as a shortage of gallies and lavatories.

In July, Airbus said it would reach an interim production goal of 65 A320-family narrow-body jets a month in early 2024 instead of summer 2023. It is still targeting 75 a month in 2025.

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