While maintaining its proposed output target of 75 narrow-body jets per month by 2025, European planemaker Airbus has been forced to accept current supply chain issues and has lowered the pressure on suppliers to commit to meeting Airbus’ proposed target. Currently many suppliers have openly confirmed that parts’ shortages would remain “largely through the end of 2023”, according to a recently published Jefferies poll.
Prior to 2025 Airbus is looking to ramp up production numbers to 65 units a month in 2023 for narrow-body jets, though the time period to reach this target has been postponed until early 2024. While increasing numbers of suppliers sound the alarm over parts and labour shortages, Airbus has privately recognised the challenges of reaching the higher target by 2025 even as it sticks firmly to an earlier goal of 65 a month, up from 50 or so now, it said.
Requests for detailed plans of how suppliers will get to 75 are “going quiet,” a senior aerospace source told Reuters news agency. The head of Raytheon Technologies, the world’s largest aerospace supplier, Chief Executive Greg Hayes, called into question this end-target last week. “If you take a look at the projections for Airbus, we think that Airbus by 2025 will be at rate 65 (a month). And Guillaume (Faury) might say rate 75, but we think rate 65 is doable,” he told a Morgan Stanley conference.
Back in July, Airbus upped its forecast numbers for jet deliveries over the next 20 years as high fuel bills and environmental pressures prompt airlines to seek more fuel-efficient planes. Industry sources say the company is also under pressure to raise output to reduce a bulge of orders in the middle of the decade after multiple airlines deferred deliveries during COVID-19. An Airbus spokesperson said on Wednesday the company’s production decisions follow “analysis of global demand and an assessment of the readiness of the industrial eco-system”.