Airbus to ramp up production of A320neo after ‘teething issues’
Airbus Group SE plans to increase the pace of production and deliveries on A320neo planes in the course of 2016, after initial delays due to “teething issues” on the upgraded version of its bestseller.
With changes in the works, the aerospace company aims to resolve Qatar Airways’ concerns about the single-aisle jet’s Pratt & Whitney engine and hold onto the Gulf carrier’s order for 80 A320neos, Fabrice Bregier, head of Airbus’s aircraft unit, said in an interview.
“It’s true we had a slow start in the first six months but it was largely planned just to gain enough maturity and to fix the small teething issues we’ve had at the beginning,” Bregier said in a television interview in Singapore. “We’re making good progress, and I believe from mid-year can really ramp up production.”
Airbus has been scrambling to overcome problems with Pratt’s new geared turbofan engine, including cooling issues that require longer start times. Qatar Airways, which refused to take delivery of the first A320neo as planned, has threatened to walk away from the 2011 order worth a potential $6.4 billion (U.S.) unless the problems are resolved in the coming months.
“You know Qatar Airways is among the most demanding customers,” Bregier said. “What I can see is that the A320neo family will deliver more than the 15 per cent savings committed initially. This is already a great success.”