Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR/BUSINESS DAY
Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR/BUSINESS DAY

Paris — Airbus said on Monday it is sticking to its target of 800 aircraft deliveries this year, despite problems with getting timely delivery of new, fuel-efficient engines for its A320neo jets.

According to a report by Bloomberg on Monday, setbacks with the supply of engines by Pratt & Whitney, which are being fitted into nearly half of the medium-haul A320neo jets, could jeopardise Airbus’s overall annual delivery target.

The report sent Airbus shares falling on the Paris stock exchange on Monday, where they fell nearly 3% at the opening. At about 11am, they were showing a loss of about 2.1% at €98.09, while the overall market was down 1.1%.

ENGINE DELIVERY HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY LATE FOR TWO YEARS. BUT IN 2017 AIRBUS DELIVERED A RECORD 718 PLANES.

Problems with engines of both Pratt & Whitney and those jointly made by Safran and General Electric have led to delays in delivery of A320neo jets.

Airbus said in April its ability to meet delivery targets this year would depend on the engine makers meeting their deadlines.

But engine delivery has been consistently late for two years. Nonetheless, in 2017 Airbus delivered a record 718 planes, exceeding the target of 700.

The jet maker also exceeded its objective in 2016, with 688 planes delivered.

Airbus is now aiming even higher, as it seeks to increase the production rate of its A320neo in order to meet demand.

"I say from a commercial point of view, from a demand point of view, we absolutely see a strong basis to support a rate even going higher," CEO Tom Enders said in April.

He also said Airbus expected to deliver 800 aircraft this year, even as he conceded: "It is not going to be a walk in the park."

The plane maker currently aims to produce 63 A320neo jets a month from now to the second half of 2019.

AFP