Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury is confident in the airframer’s production trajectory as it seeks to hike deliveries this year, and substantially increase monthly output across its aircraft range, while navigating persistent supply-chain problems.

The manufacturer expects to reach about 800 deliveries this year, up from 735 in 2023, while aiming to raise production on the A220, A320neo-family and A350 over the next two years.

Speaking during a full-year briefing on 15 February, Faury said the supply chain was a “world of bottlenecks at the moment” and the company is facing “as many situations as we have suppliers”.

“We’re trying to find the sweet spot between the very strong demand we have, and the many, many bottlenecks,” he states.

Engine supply is one obvious area being monitored, says Faury, but he adds that there are others relating to equipment, with “some big [tier-one companies] facing difficulties with their deliveries to us for 2024 and beyond”.

Guillaume Faury press conference Feb2024-c-Airbus

Source: Airbus

Faury says the aerospace supply chain remains a ‘world of bottlenecks’

US-based Spirit AeroSystems recently disclosed it was looking to cut losses by revising supply agreements with Airbus.

Faury confirms the airframer is “discussing a lot of parameters of the contractual relationship” with Spirit, “price being one of them”.

But he adds that Airbus is also monitoring the speed at which Spirit is investing for ramp-up plans, and the management of its own supply chain.

Faury says the airframer is supporting “a lot of suppliers”, directly rather than financially, primarily through secondment of personnel to various facilities to assist with reaching industrial maturity.

He adds that Airbus has expanded its own supply-chain management department by 150% over the last two years in order to address the situation.

Faury says the supply-chain circumstances are “actually improving” but points out that, because this is occurring in parallel with production ramp-up, there is a “permanent tension” between the airframer’s needs and the supply-chain’s ability to deliver.

“We spend a hell of a lot of time each and every year trying to best assess the capability of the supply chain,” states Faury. “We don’t want to highlight or blame the ones slowing us down on our path.”

He says Airbus is “ahead of the curve” on its production system, and “well-sized” to achieve more deliveries. “The ability to reach 800 [deliveries this year] – or slightly more, or slightly less – is very much linked to the [supply chain].”