Airbus Group is maintaining a production target of 10 A350s per month by the end of 2018, but acknowledges that the ramp-up efforts is becoming “increasingly challenging”.

The company says its delivery schedule is “heavily-loaded” towards the end of the year, as a result of the hurdles it is facing with the ramp-up of both the A350 and the A320neo, as well as the military A400M.

Airbus Group adds that this situation is already evident in the company’s first-quarter financial performance.

Commercial aircraft revenues rose by 1% to €8.7 billion ($9.8 billion) over the quarter but earnings fell by more than 30% to €290 million.

Airbus is concentrating on resolving “bottlenecks” in the A350 supply chain, although it has not specified the extent of these.

It had previously been hampered by the seating supply issues at Zodiac Aerospace.

Airbus Group says it is aiming to reduce outstanding work and control recurring costs, and is maintaining a target to reach monthly production of 10 A350s in 2018. The company had predicted delivering some 50 A350s this year. In the first quarter it handed over four.

But chief executive Tom Enders says the company is encountering the challenges for which it had been bracing.

Five A320neos were delivered in the first quarter but the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G powerplant issues have yet to be overcome.

Enders says the engine manufacturer is “committed” to supplying new powerplants for the type from “the summer”.

“The engines are expected to be delivered to the right level of maturity to enable the [A320neo] ramp-up in the second half of 2016,” he says. Ramp-up preparations are continuing, he says, and the company expects supply-chain problems to be “recovered” by the end of the year.

“Overall we expect a stable financial performance,” he says, despite the unsettled first quarter. The company is sticking to its full-year guidance figures and says its growth forecasts still hold.

Source: Cirium Dashboard