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Airlines Face a Shortage of New Boeing, Airbus Jets

Carriers try to plan their flight networks as plane makers juggle supply-chain, other constraints

Airlines in need of more pilots and spare parts are increasingly facing another shortage: new jets.

Boeing Co. and Airbus SE are months behind handing over new single-aisle jets often used for U.S. domestic flights or other short-haul trips, constraining carriers’ ability to add flights to meet resurgent demand and plan their schedules, according to company executives and industry officials.

“It makes it really hard for our team to plan,” Southwest Airlines Co. Chairman Gary Kelly said at an aerospace industry event in Washington, D.C., last month.

A Boeing spokeswoman said the company continues to work closely with suppliers to meet its commitments to customers.

In addition to supply problems, Boeing is facing regulatory challenges for its latest two iterations of the 737 MAX. Both face uncertain futures if Boeing can’t win Federal Aviation Administration approval for them by the end of the year. Current federal law would require a cockpit overhaul if the planes aren’t approved in 2022.

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Boeing 737 MAX Makes First Commercial Flight in Chinese Skies Since 2019

 While China’s airlines haven’t resumed using the plane, one of the jetliners operated by a Mongolian airline landed in Guangzhou

A Boeing Co. 737 MAX operated by MIAT Mongolian Airlines landed in China on Monday in what industry experts say is the jet’s first commercial flight in Chinese skies since Beijing grounded the plane in 2019.

The 737 MAX jet flew to China’s southern city of Guangzhou from Ulaanbaatar, according to flight tracker Flightradar24. Chinese regulators gave MIAT permission to fly the 737 MAX into China in August, a spokesman for the Mongolian airline said in an email, adding that the jet had been leased out to another operator until now.

The flight by the non-Chinese carrier comes weeks after China’s air-safety regulators met with Boeing to discuss the 737 MAX in September. China grounded the series in early 2019—the first country to do so—after two deadly accidents in the space of less than six months in other countries. Chinese airlines have yet to resume commercial flights using the plane.

Qi Qi, a Chinese aviation analyst, said that the MIAT Mongolian Airlines flight is the first commercial flight for the 737 MAX in China since the grounding. The flight is another step toward a broad resumption of MAX’s commercial flights in China, he said.

Since late 2020, the 737 MAX has resumed operations in the U.S., Australia and Canada, among other countries. Only a handful, including China, are still grounding the model.

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China Lifts Grounding of Boeing 737 MAX Jets

A Boeing 737 MAX jet landed in China today in what industry experts say is the aircraft's first commercial flight in Chinese skies since Beijing grounded the plane in 2019. That was shortly after two deadly accidents involving 737 MAX jets in other countries in the space of less than six months. Since late 2020, the Boeing jet has resumed operations in the US, Australia and Canada, among other countries.

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Airbus, Bogged Down by Supply Chain Woes, Cuts Delivery Target

Planemaker slows aggressive ramp up of A320 narrow-body as suppliers scramble to hit targets

LONDON—Airbus cut its aircraft delivery guidance for this year and slowed production plans, citing delays in its supply chain that are holding back the European planemaker’s aggressive ramp up targets.

The company will deliver 700 aircraft this year, 20 fewer than it had initially planned, it said on Wednesday. Airbus delivered 297 aircraft in the first half, with some handovers held back by missing or late components.

While it held on to plans to increase production of its bestselling narrow-body family to 75-a-month in 2025, it said production would increase more slowly through 2023. Rates for that aircraft, the A320, will now only reach a rate of 65-a-month in early 2024, about six months behind schedule. Rates are currently at about 50 a month.

“We are late on the trajectory we had given to ourselves,” Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said on a call with reporters, citing the supply-chain challenges. “We are trying to go as fast as we can.”

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