Airbus Gives Up On 2022 Delivery Target, Slows Production Ramp-Up

Credit: Airbus

GENEVA—With persistent supplier and internal issues continuing, Airbus no longer believes its target of around 700 commercial aircraft deliveries in 2022 can be achieved and production ramp-up will be slower than expected.

Airbus said Dec. 6 that based on the November deliveries and the “complex operational environment,” the initial target for this year is now “out of reach.” However, the final figure is not going to be materially short of it either. Airbus delivered 565 aircraft January-November, leaving over 100 aircraft yet to be handed over in December. While deliveries are traditionally peaking toward the end of the year as aircraft manufacturers try to stick to their targets, the kind of problems Airbus is facing this year makes a catching-up exercise of this scale unrealistic.

2022 financial guidance is unaffected by the decision, Airbus says.

Airbus has been experiencing severe parts and components shortages in various parts of the aircraft. Engine availability has improved, and Airbus has built up stocks to cope with any delays. But suppliers almost across the board have been late in deliveries nonetheless, leaving the OEM with unfinished aircraft and substantial delays in deliveries to airlines and lessors. 

CEO Guillaume Faury recently said that performance should have bottomed out, but a substantial recovery and return to more reliable delivery performance is not expected until the latter half of 2023 at the earliest. Some observers believe supply chain shortfalls and internal ramp-up challenges like staffing will continue into early 2024.

In consequence, the company said that “taking into account the fact that this complex environment will persist longer than previously expected, Airbus will be adjusting the speed of the A320 family ramp-up to rate 65 for 2023 and 2024 ... [and] maintains the objective of reaching rate 75 by the middle of the decade.” According to its earlier guidance, the company wanted to reach rate 65 in the first quarter of 2024 and rate 75 during the course of 2025.

The revised wording leaves more room for interpretation and opens the door for shifting both goals backwards. The rate targets refer to monthly A320neo family deliveries.

Airbus delivered 440 A320neo family aircraft (six A319neos, 214 A320neos and 220 A321neos) between January and November, an average of just 40 aircraft per month. Its own timeline sees it reaching 50 aircraft by the end of the year. In November, it handed over 53.

Year-to-date deliveries also include 45 A220s, 28 A330s and 52 A350s.

Jens Flottau

Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Jens is executive editor and leads Aviation Week Network’s global team of journalists covering commercial aviation.