Farnborough: A320 engine suppliers roughly on recovery plan

July 19, 2018, © Leeham News, Farnborough: The engine suppliers for the Airbus A320 family are roughly keeping to their recovery plan designed to catch up late deliveries and fix technical problems, a top official said this week.

Guillaume Faury, is the new president and CEO of the Airbus Commercial unit in Airbus Group.

“We look at short-term, medium- and long-term. Short-term, we had an H1 (first half) that was OK for all programs, but the single-aisle was a difficulty with all the engines. We will have a very strong H2 and this is obviously very high on my agenda.

Fixing the engines

Faury said he’s working very closely with the engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney and CFM, to catch up on fixes and production issues for the GTF and LEAP-1A respectively.

“All the other programs are doing well,” he said.

Production ramp up

Faury said that production rates will go up; the question is how fast.

“The engine makers have proved to be more ambitious than what they were able to do. The main focus is on the engine makers, but it’s fair to say we are ramping up for 50 to 60. They are ramping up from zero to 60,” he said.

The new technologies on the CFM LEAP 1A and the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan proved more difficult to “digest” than had been thought, he said.

Both OEMs have been late delivering engines to Airbus for installation on the A320 family. Both have had technical issues. In both cases, PW faces more challengers than CFM.

But Faury says both are more or less sticking to revised delivery schedules.

Strong demand

Faury said Airbus sees very strong demand for the single-aisle family, which as of July 1 also includes the A220—the airplane formerly known as the Bombardier C Series.

Preparing Airbus and the supply chain for A320 production rates of more than the previously announce 60/mo will be key to going higher.

For Airbus, going from 50 to 60 to 70 is not difficult, he said. The increases are incremental. For the engine makers, with new engines, their ramp-up is essentially from zero to 70, he said.

Safran, a 50% partner in CFM, currently warned it’s not ready to go to 70/mo. It’s running behind on delivering the LEAP 1A to Airbus and the LEAP 1B to Boeing, though CFM expects to catch up in the coming months.

Preparing for production rate increases and if and when the supply chain may be ready to accept the higher rates is a priority.

Three directions

“Looking forward, there are two or three important directions we want to follow,” Faury said. One is digitizing and automation (robotics).

Another expanding Skywise, Airbus’ production tracking and quality control system that extends to some of its suppliers, and data collection from the airlines. (More on this Monday.)

A third is accelerating reducing emissions and greenhouse gases.


10 Comments on “Farnborough: A320 engine suppliers roughly on recovery plan

  1. It’s pretty obvious that the engine makers are in no position to support another rate increase in 2020. It seems to me like the real question is whether they can stabilize their production systems over the next two years and be ready for another increase in 2021.

    It’s definitely true that the recent rate increases were much more ambitious from the perspective of the engine makers, which were in the midst of switching over to new products. For Airbus and Boeing, it was no big deal.

  2. Who was more ambitious?

    Of course they said they could, or as my older brother puts it.

    You Lie and I Will Swear to It.

    P&W has some more fiddly bits but Leap has coating issues as well.

    I think both will recover just fine.

    Note to Airbus and Boeing: Throttle back, don’t jump into the deep end of the pool until its proven not to have sharks. Give the Pool Guards a chance to sweep for mines.

  3. Hello Bjorn
    So then PW1100G advantage PIP will stop slipping to the right ? Will come finally in 2021 ?

    Best regards

  4. Any thoughts about who, Boeing or Airbus, has more leverage when it comes to ramping the Leap engines. Does CFM favour one over the other in terms of development and volumes?

    They could possibly favour Boeing in development as this gives them a competitive edge against the A320 and a captive market for the MAX. They could possibly favour the neo as they have direct competition to the GTF.

    If CFM were to be ‘evenhanded’ then Airbus would win hands down as they would have dual sourcing and higher potential volumes as a result.

    • You might think a bit about conspiracy and realize that half of CFM is French?

  5. @Scott – Do you know if the PW1500 if the PW1000 supply chains are independant? In other words is an extra engine for the 320 one less for the 220 or can the two engines be ramped independently?

    Because if they are independent the obvious approach is to stop selling 319’s and even steer some A320 customers to 220-300’s. This way with just a smaller increase in PW1100 production they might be be able to get to 75 narrow aisle jets a month (10 220’s and 65 320’s).

    • Asking a question and then offering a solution based on the question is a bit of sophism.

      They use different parts due to size differences but the same suppliers make all of them.

      The C series is a very low rate build.

      P&W assembles C series engines (currently) in Canada.

      The others are US assembled.

      More interesting will be where the US built C gets its engine assembled and if that makes any difference content wise and the possible dumping from Boeing for the CS-300.

      See how I cleverly (or not so cleverly) turned that around to my interest?

      • Looked it up, the C series engine is assembled in Mirabel, I thought it was but wanted to be sure.

      • Sophism, Solipsism, all these philosophy “S” terms. Hard to keep straight.

        Sophism – a clever but false argument, especially one used deliberately to deceive.

        Not what I was trying to do. And yes C series is “low” rate but even adding 10/month by 2020 looks to be an issue for engine makers so it is not clear if PW can do that for the 220 without impacting the 320. And how will Airbus handle that tension.

        As for US content, one example is fan blades made in 3 locations including Lansing MI so in that case and presumably others there is the opportunity to increase US content by judicious sourcing of components.

  6. Has anyone ever been part of a corporate recovery effort that wasn’t “on track”?

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