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Airbus Hits New Supply-Chain Hurdle in Race With Boeing

Engine maker Pratt to recall 1,200 engines over 12 months just as Airbus is trying to cement its supremacy in narrow-body jets

LONDON—Airbus faces another high hurdle in delivering its bestselling jets as it races to solidify a commanding lead over rival Boeing BA -2.01%decrease; red down pointing triangle.

Airbus has been working to rapidly increase output of its bestselling A320 family of aircraft as it seeks to deliver on a backlog that now stretches out into the early 2030s. Many of those planes are powered by a certain type of Pratt & Whitney engine, which the engine maker said earlier this week will need to be recalled and inspected.

Pratt said it would need to inspect 1,200 of its geared-turbofan engines after it discovered a fault in the metal that could lead to cracking. Both Pratt and Airbus have said the issue doesn’t impact the safety of the aircraft.

The recall could further slow Airbus’s plans for higher production rates of the jet. With the affected engines being taken out of service, Pratt will need to hold on to more of its new engines for a spare-engine pool.

It keeps those reserves for planes needing engine maintenance. That in turn means it can provide fewer engines needed by Airbus for new aircraft deliveries.

Excerpt from WSJ
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Pratt & Whitney Engines on Hundreds of Airbus Jets Recalled for Inspection

RTX says engines are affected by contaminated metal parts that could crack over time

The fuel-efficient Geared Turbofan engine has had reliability problems since it was introduced in 2015. Hundreds of Airbus jetliners will require inspections after a new problem with their Pratt & Whitney engines, adding another potential airline disruption in coming months.

Pratt parent said recently discovered contamination in the metal used to make some engine parts required the planes to be inspected to check on whether repairs were required.

The contamination could cause cracks to form in critical engine parts. The new problem exacerbates the shortage of new, fuel-efficient engines that has sidelined dozens of Airbus and Boeing jetliners worldwide after parts wore out faster than expected.

The recall isn’t expected to have an immediate impact on travel because only a fraction of the engine fleet that has flown the most will be inspected over the next six weeks.

Excerpt from WSJ
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Inadequate Inspections Contributed to Jet-Engine Failure That Dropped Debris Over Colorado Town

The failure on United Airlines Boeing 777 was caused by a fan blade that broke about five minutes after takeoff

The damaged engine of the United Airlines Boeing 777 being examined at Denver International Airport in February 2021. PHOTO: NTSB/ZUMA PRESS
Inadequate inspections by Pratt & Whitney were partly responsible for a midflight breakdown of a jet engine that showered a Colorado town with metal 2½ years ago, aviation-safety authorities concluded Friday.

The engine failure on the Honolulu-bound United Airlines Boeing 777 on Feb. 20, 2021, was caused by a fan blade that broke about five minutes after the plane took off, damaging the engine covering and causing it to rip away. The plane’s engine caught fire, but the flight returned to Denver and landed safely.

A 2016 inspection misdiagnosed early signs of metal fatigue forming that should have prompted a second inspection or further review, the National Transportation Safety Board wrote in a report released Friday.

Excerpt from WSJ
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Demand for Airliners Soars: ‘We Cannot Make Planes Fast Enough’

Airbus CEO sees demand continuing to outstrip supply as European plane maker accelerates output and pulls further ahead of Boeing

U.S. plane maker Boeing and European rival Airbus collectively secured over 1,000 firm orders at this year’s Paris Air Show. WSJ’s George Downs explains what these orders can tell us about the state of the duopoly, and the health of the aviation industry. 

LE BOURGET, France—Economies are wobbling around the world, but that isn’t deterring travelers clamoring for airplane tickets.

The voracious postpandemic demand for flying doesn’t show signs of cooling soon, according to aviation executives who gathered at this week’s Paris Air Show. They point to recent large aircraft orders such as Indian budget carrier IndiGo’s record 500-jet deal earlier this week.

“There is economic slowdown, but airlines do not see a slowdown of bookings,” said Guillaume Faury, chief executive of Airbus EADSY 1.87%increase; green up pointing triangle, the world’s biggest commercial jet maker. “And they continue to see a very strong demand with high prices.”

That demand has collided with the industry’s limited ability to quickly increase production of planes. Airbus and rival Boeing BA 0.13%increase; green up pointing triangle have faced constraints on the supply of things such as engines, chips and workers. Both have long order backlogs.

Excerpt from WSJ
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