At the halfway point of the year, three-quarters of the 50 A350s which Airbus planned to deliver in 2016 had still to be handed over.

Not to mention the number of A320neo deliveries which have been shunted to the second half as a result of the need to modify Pratt & Whitney geared turbofans.

Airbus is aiming to deliver 650 aircraft this year and output was running at just under 46% of this total by the end of June. That does not compare too badly with the typical 47-48% level at the same stage in the previous five years, but the transition to new programmes and higher supply rates are complicating factors.

So Airbus is under a fair bit of pressure in the second half. And its impatience over the A350 supply chain appears to be spreading, after its senior management mentioned a desire to see more “co-operation” regarding acceptance from certain finicky customers. No names mentioned, but none was probably needed.

The phrase “all hands on deck” was uttered at least twice by Airbus management during its half-year briefing, as the company prepared to hammer the square peg of delivery demands into the round hole of its schedule calendar.

Whether that nautical reference extends to cancelling shore leave for les aoûtiens, the contingent of French workers who make their vacation exodus in August, isn’t clear. Sacre bleu.

Source: Flight International