Airframers’ supply chain woes set to impact year-end delivery targets

Soaring inflation and energy bills, raw material shortages, the ongoing skills scarcity and a fragile Chinese supply chain are forming a perfect storm that looks set to hit year-end aircraft delivery target by both major airframers Airbus and Boeing.

Irish low cost carrier Ryanair said it will be lucky to receive some of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft it has on order forcing chief executive Michael O’Leary to flag that any delay in receiving them could potentially impact 2023  growth plans. “We’re contracted to get 51 aircraft from Boeing before the end of April. We will be lucky to get 40 aircraft by the end of June next year and that’s critical to our continued growth,” O’Leary told a recent industry event.

Ryanair plans to add another 20 million passengers to its record 168 million passengers in 2022 although has repeatedly flagged concerns that Boeing might fail to deliver 5-10 aircraft on schedule, knocking 1 or 2 million from that target number of passengers.

Airbus chief Guillaume Faury has added to industry fears that supply constraints will persist until the end of next year after he outlined the full extent of the crisis gripping the business’s component producers at an industry event in Brussels last week.

Meanwhile, global aircraft orders in October increased compared to previous months with the 299 aircraft ordered the highest for the month since 2019. For the full year to date, aircraft orders for the first ten months of the year are also at their highest level since 2014 with single-aisle aircraft continuing to dominate both the orderbook and recovery, accounting for 90 per cent of orders placed so far in 2022.

Aircraft deliveries also rose, with 95 aircraft delivered (75 single-aisle and 20 wide-body), a 51 per cent increase on October 2021. Following the high delivery numbers seen in recent months, aircraft deliveries remain in line with the ADS forecast with 860 deliveries made so far in 2022. Year to date, single aisle deliveries are 73 per cent ahead of October 2021, and wide-bodies are 14 per cent ahead from the same point of time in 2021.

Kevin Craven, chief executive of UK aerospace manufacturing organisation ADS, said: “Stronger order and delivery books coupled with a rising backlog seen throughout 2022 continue to be a welcome indication that long-term recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is progressing.”

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