Airport firefighters, not pictured, perform a water salute for an Airbus SE A350 aircraft, operated by Singapore Airlines Ltd. (Photographer: Bryan van der Beek/Bloomberg)

Airbus Says Engine Issues Resolved, Aims To Speed Up India Deliveries

Airbus said it's looking to exceed its 2018 targets by delivering over 67 aircraft to Indian airliners this year as engine issues have been resolved.

“We plan to have an impressive number of deliveries this year with our supply chain in place,” Anand Stanley, managing director and president of Airbus India and South Asia, told BloombergQuint ahead of Aero India in Bengaluru.

Supply-chain issues and problems with Pratt & Whitney engines had derailed delivery schedule for the French manufacturer. Issues with engines had grounded planes ordered by IndiGo last year.

An Airbus A330 on display at the 2019 Aero Show in Bengaluru. (Source: BloombergQuint)
An Airbus A330 on display at the 2019 Aero Show in Bengaluru. (Source: BloombergQuint)

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That's getting resolved, said Stanley. “On the Pratt & Whitney engines, we have seen a reliability of 99.6 percent,” he said. “In the last 12 months, we have been very focused in working with the engine partners, the airlines and the regulatory authorities proactively.”

Stanley said Airbus made a number of software changes and fixes and, wherever required, retrofits. “The Indian fleet has seen 99 percent retrofits and in the next two months we will complete all of them.”

That led to three to fourfold reduction in engine issues. So for every 1000 hours, the reliability issue is now at 0.02 against the global benchmark of 0.05, he said.

Planes sent to India accounted for 8 percent of the global deliveries in 2018, Stanley said.

Airbus last year delivered 66 A320 Neos — 35 to IndiGo, 17 to GoAir, and nine to Air India and five to Vistara through lessors. Vistara leased from BOC Aviation and Air India from ALAFCO and CIT to whom Airbus sold directly. IndiGo and GoAir have a sale-and-leaseback model. Airbus also delivered an A321 Neo to IndiGo in 2018.

“We still have a backlog of over 500 aircraft to be delivered in India over the next few years,” said Stanley. He didn't disclose deliveries made so far this year.

A senior executive, however, said 22 planes have been delivered in 2019. He didn't want to be identified as the information is not public yet.

Airbus expects 23 airports to come up in the next three years and 100 in the next decade in India. That, Stanley said, will drive demand for aircraft.

Airbus will be featuring its new A330 Neo at the Bengaluru Aero Show. The new aircraft has a similar cost per seat as A320 Neos but can travel longer distances and has more seats.

Watch the interview here:

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