Airbus is struggling with global supply chain issues for engines and other critical parts.
Airbus is reportedly planning to delay the delivery of some 2023 A320neo deliveries as the company grapples with global shortages. In particular, a lack of new engines and labor availability has meant the European planemaker is looking to miss its 2023 targets. Let’s find out more.
Situation not improving
Supply chain problems are hardly news to planemakers, who have been struggling since last year. However, as demand ramps up to near pre-COVID levels, Airbus is preparing to potentially delay deliveries of its most popular aircraft line, the A320 family. While the 2022 delivery goal remains the priority, next year is already looking in peril.
According to Reuters, the primary source of the issue stems from a shortage of new engines for aircraft. Engine makers have been unable to meet the current demand, leaving planemakers and maintenance firms competing for key components. However, this isn’t the only problem the planemaker is facing in the coming months.
Aside from engines, labor shortages, strikes, and the availability of other parts are all hampering the ramped-up production of narrowbody aircraft. Essential components such as lavatories and galleys are running late as well, leaving planes unable to reach airlines in time. The knock-on effect has meant even planes in operation have been sidelined recently, setting up more hurdles.
As Airbus focuses on its 2023 delivery target, airlines are struggling to keep their existing jets flying. According to Cirium, 129 Pratt & Whitney-powered and 55 CFM-powered Airbus planes are currently stuck awaiting engine repairs. With new parts running late, some carriers have trimmed down schedules in response to the lack of aircraft. With deliveries slowing too, large carriers could be facing trouble without an improvement.
The world’s largest A320 customer, low-cost giant IndiGo has been forced to ground 10% of its fleet, around 30 aircraft, due to a lack of key engine parts. While engine makers are scrambling to allocate enough supplies to airlines, there remains a supply crunch.
Boeing, which sources its 737 MAX engines solely from CFM, is facing similar issues, forcing it also to delay deliveries to key customers. Despite strong demand from airlines, planemakers face a difficult start to 2023.
Can Airbus meet its ambitious goal?
By 2025, Airbus hopes to hit a target of 75 aircraft a month, a huge increase from the target of 50 by the end of this year. However, the timeline has been slipping in recent months as supply chain issues have been slow to resolve. While 2023 was supposed to see 65 planes a month, this will now be achieved in early 2024. For now, breaking records will be the least of Airbus’ concerns as it hopes to reach its goals in 2022 and 2023.