FARNBOROUGH, England (Reuters) -Airbus expects delays in engine supplies that have been holding back aircraft deliveries to peak at mid-year, Chief Executive Guillaume Faury was reported on Monday as saying.
Airbus has been forced to build some narrowbody A320neo-family jets without engines in order to keep assembly lines running, mirroring a smaller scale disruption seen in 2017 when Airbus was forced to build dozens of engine-less airframes nicknamed “gliders,” while waiting for powerplants to arrive.
“It’s going to peak probably mid-year and then we think we’ll get more engines in the second half,” Faury told Flightglobal in an interview released at the opening of the Farnborough Airshow.
Reuters reported in May that engine maker CFM was facing delays of six to eight weeks following supply-chain problems and some French labour unrest, but expects to claw most of this back by early in the fourth quarter.
Co-owned by General Electric Co and France’s Safran, CFM is the largest jet engine maker by units sold, and powers three out of four narrowbody jets including all Boeing 737 MAX and about half of Airbus’ A320neo.
It competes on the A320neo with Pratt & Whitney, whose engines are also reported to be facing delays.
Stan Deal, chief executive of Boeing’s planemaking unit, said on Sunday that engines were the number one constraint. Boeing said last week it had touched a targeted production rate of 31 MAX jets a month but had yet to stabilise at that level.
Deal told reporters: “It does not advantage us to make airplanes without engines so we’re going to pace our rate … and slowly work to bring that supply chain back and increase our rates.”
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Edmund Blair)