The ramp-up in deliveries of the Airbus A320neo remains problematic due to ongoing issues with one of the aircraft’s two engine options.
Airbus says it delivered 59 A320neo Family aircraft in the first half of 2017, up from eight in the first half of 2016.
However, “The A320neo ramp-up remains challenging and customers are still experiencing a number of in-service engine issues,” Airbus said in statement on Thursday reporting its first half 2017 financial results.
“Engine supplier Pratt & Whitney has introduced some fixes but these improvements have not come through yet on a reliable basis under normal service conditions.”
Airbus says it plans to deliver 200 A320neos in the 2017 calendar year, but concedes “this objective is more challenging given these engine issues”.
Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G geared turbofan is one of two engine options available to A320neo (New Engine Option) customers, alongside the CFM International LEAP-1A. The PW1100G has suffered from a number of technical issues, while both engine manufacturers face the challenge of ramping up production rates to meet Airbus’s delivery schedules for the remainder of the year and beyond.
“The commercial aircraft environment remains healthy while the robust order backlog continues to support our production ramp-up plans,” Airbus chief executive officer Tom Enders said.
“However, we are facing challenges due to ongoing engine issues but we have a clear road-map in place and have maintained our full-year guidance. Achieving the aircraft delivery target depends on the engine suppliers meeting their commitments.”
Locally the Qantas Group has 99 LEAP-powered A320neos on order (comprising 54 A320neos and 45 of the larger A321neo) for its Jetstar low-cost carrier operations, but first delivery is not expected until the second half of 2018, while Air New Zealand has ordered 13 A320neo Family aircraft – comprised of nine A320neos and four A321neos – powered by the PW1100G and also due for delivery at some point in 2018.
Meanwhile, as A320neo production ramps up at an unprecedented rate, A380 production is being wound back further as orders dry up, with just eight examples of the world’s largest airliner due for delivery in 2019, Airbus revealed.
In the half of 2017 Airbus delivered six A380s, as well as 31 A330s and 30 A350s, plus 180 A320ceo (current engine option) Family aircraft.