Airbus faces an uphill task to close on its A320neo delivery goal of 200 units for the year.
With only 90 A320neos delivered by October, the company acknowledged that it would be “slightly below” the 200 target, and that the “delivery profile will be very much Q4 loaded”, according to Airbus CFO Harald Wilhelm.
Delays largely stem from ongoing problems with the PW1100G engine, and from the fact that Airbus has directed Pratt & Whitney to divert Toulouse-bound engines to A320neo operators to functions as spares to cover their replacement needs.
As a result, it appears that Airbus has more than 40 A320neos now parked outside it assembly line without engines.
“Earlier in H1 we commented on the number of airframes sitting without engines, which was…up to 40 or so. I can say that the number went up as the delivery profile in the Q3 was certainly not proportional into the full year, nor did they recover from the delay,” said Wilhelm.
Airbus hopes that most of the engine issues will be resolved in early 2018, when it plans to ramp-up A320neo production.
“Pratt & Whitney defined their new engine fixes to be tested in quarter four. We expect these improvements to come through on a reliable basis for deliveries in Q1 '18,” Wilhelm told analysts on an earnings call.
It would not be drawn on next year’s production split of A320ceo and neo aircraft, although Wilhem expects the Neo to account for “substantially above 50%” of Airbus’ narrowbody production in 2018.
However, all the attention paid to the PW1100G has slightly obscured the fact that its rival, the CFM LEAP-1A is also experiencing problems (more about which tomorrow).
Wilhelm confirmed that Airbus was also asking CFM to divert some engines for spares support, although he added that “the proportion of engines diverted on the GTF is by far higher than on the LEAP”.