| PARIS, Sept 6
PARIS, Sept 6 A surge in Airbus jet
deliveries in August has put the European planemaker back on
course to meet an annual target which had been threatened by
delays in parts supplies.
Airbus said it had delivered 61 jets in August, 30 percent
more than its previous record for the traditionally quiet summer
month, bringing the total for the year so far to 400 aircraft.
The European planemaker, whose deliveries had started the
year below trend because of problems with supplies of engines
and cabin parts, posted a sharp increase in deliveries after
putting workers on an overtime drive to help clear the backlog.
Its planemaking chief Fabrice Bregier, who anticipated the
record deliveries in an interview with Reuters last week, told
a French newspaper on Tuesday Airbus was now capable of meeting
its annual delivery goal of 650 aircraft.
August had been shaping up as a make-or-break month for
full-year deliveries after earlier delays. The January-August
period is traditionally a solid indicator of progress towards
full-year deliveries, representing an average of 62 percent of
the ultimate full-year total in the past five years.
At the current rate, Airbus is on course to deliver some 645
jets this year, needing a small extra kick to reach the target
for 650, which underpins Airbus Group's revenue expectations.
August's increase, from the previous August peak of 47 in
2013, was mainly due to accelerated deliveries of the existing
version of the Airbus A320, the company's best-selling model.
It is gradually being replaced by the upgraded A320neo, but
deliveries of the newer model have been hampered by technical
problems and delays with engines from Pratt & Whitney.
On Tuesday, Canada's Bombardier slashed delivery
forecasts for its new CSeries jet, citing delays in deliveries
of a similar model of engine from Pratt & Whitney.
Deliveries of the A320neo show signs of recovering, with 5
aircraft handed over in August or one more than the previous
best month, but deliveries remain behind the planemaker's
original plans with up to 20 jets parked and awaiting engines.
Airbus said it had delivered 16 A320neo jets so far, 13 of
them equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines and 3 with
alternative powerplants from CFM .
It confirmed a sharp increase in deliveries of its long-haul
A350 jet in August. It delivered six of the aircraft after
delays in cabin fittings, but needs to push the average rate
above 7 to meet a goal of 50 of the carbon-fibre planes in 2016.
With cabin suppliers like Zodiac Aerospace still
struggling to iron out production problems, some analysts
question how quickly Airbus will push the supply chain to higher
rates as it prepares for 10 A350s a month by the end of 2018.
Airbus meanwhile said it had booked 517 orders in the first
eight months, including a 100-plane order from AirAsia
held over from the previous month. After cancellations, Airbus
had 438 net orders, putting it ahead of rival Boeing even
though both are bracing for a drop in 2016 orders compared to
last year, due to fragile economies.
(Editing by Alexander Smith)