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European planemaker’s sales efforts hindered by production capacity constraints for its popular A320 over the next three years

Airbus SE said it can’t ramp up production of its popular single-aisle jet fast enough to meet demand and forecasts delivery constraints for another three years as airlines clamor for new planes again.

Airbus Chief Financial Officer Dominik Asam, in an interview ahead of the Dubai air show that started Sunday, said airlines are asking for delivery of new aircraft after most of them stopped ordering new jets and tried in many cases to defer or cancel orders during the Covid-19 pandemic. Airbus is pushing sales—what the industry calls sales “campaigns”—but is constrained on what it can promise, Mr. Asam said.

“There is a really vibrant activity on campaigns, especially on the single aisle,” he said. “One real challenge we face is the lack of near-term delivery slots.”

After slashing production amid the pandemic last year, Airbus earlier this year told suppliers to start ramping back up, optimistic that demand would snap back. But aerospace suppliers—just like other manufacturers around the world—have struggled with supply-line disruptions and soaring costs. Mr. Asam said they can’t make parts and components fast enough to allow Airbus to deliver all the jets it thinks it can sell. Each aircraft has about 500,000 parts and components. Airbus receives some 1.7 million parts a day across its factories, he said.

Airbus said earlier this month that it faced delivery shortfalls as it struggles with on-time delivery of components and quality lapses. The restart in production of Boeing Co. ’s 737 MAX after its recertification is also adding pressure to the aerospace supply chain.

Excerpt from WSJ
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