Engine problems threaten Airbus deliveries in 2018
On February 15, 2018, Airbus reported 2017 financial results and provided an outlook for 2018, revealing the aim to deliver approximately 800 commercial aircraft, but admitting the target depends on “engine manufacturers meeting commitments”. Earlier this month Airbus’ A320neo deliveries were halted due to problems with PW1100G engines that power the jetliner.
In 2017 Airbus delivered a total of 181 A320neo Family aircraft, which marks an increase from 68 aircraft delivered during 2016. CFM International experienced some maturity issues in 2017 on some batches of the LEAP-1A engine. Despite Pratt & Whitney introducing new certified engine fixes in the fourth quarter, its newest problems might impact the French manufacturer’ deliveries in 2018 as well.
On February 10, 2018, Airbus stopped delivering A320neo jets powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines and halted pre-delivery test flights after a series of problems with the PW1100G engines. The deliveries halt came a day after the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) on February 9, 2018, for Airbus A320 and A321 (the A320-271N, A321-271N, A321-272N) aircraft indicating that several occurrences of engine in-flight shut-down (IFSD) and rejected take-off (RTO) have been reported on these Airbus A320neo-family planes.
“The A320neo ramp-up remains challenging and requires that the engine suppliers deliver in line with commitments,” the company admits in a statement.
The situation appears to be better when it comes to other Airbus jetliners. “On the A350, good progress was made with the industrial ramp-up, recurring cost convergence and the reduction of outstanding work in the Final Assembly Line, which has been significantly reduced,” Airbus states. “The A350 programme is preparing to reach the targeted monthly production rate of 10 by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, Emirates Airline’s latest order provides increased visibility on the A380 programme for the years to come”.
As for other 2017 results, the company states that its order intake increased to € 158 billion with the order book valued at € 997 billion as of 31 December 2017. A total of 1,109 net commercial aircraft orders were received with a book-to-bill ratio of 1.5. The backlog by units reached “a record” year-end level of 7,265 commercial aircraft.
Airbus also revealed stable revenues at € 66.8 billion (2016: € 66.6 billion) with higher aircraft deliveries offset by a reduction in revenues of around € 2 billion from the perimeter changes. Commercial Aircraft revenues rose by 3.5 percent with record deliveries of 718 aircraft (2016: 688 aircraft) comprising 558 A320 Family, 78 A350 XWBs, 67 A330s and 15 A380s.
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