Airbus has said it will need to “deliver, deliver and deliver” to reach its goals for 2017. Instead, it’s been delay, delay and delay for Europe’s biggest aerospace group.
It admitted this week that it may have to cut production of its A380 superjumbo to fewer than one a month due to weak sales. Even worse, production of the much-anticipated A320neo regional jet was “to some extent” being delayed by problems with the delivery of engines from Pratt & Whitney, sales chief John Leahy said at the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association in Cancun, Mexico.
Those delays are so pronounced that they’re affecting the commute of employees at the Airbus plant in Hamburg-Finkenwerder. Parking space in front of the factory has been taken up by half-finished planes waiting for engines to turn the bestselling A320 jet into the A320neo, short for “new engine option.”
It’s a major problem for Airbus, whose shareholders include the French, German and Spanish governments. Its ambitious goals for this year hinge on timely production of the A320. It has forecast that it will beat last year’s record performance by delivering more than 700 aircraft and achieving “mid-single-digit” growth in adjusted earnings before interest and tax.