- Rolls-Royce Holdings announced it would deliver only 500 airline engines in 2018, down from an earlier estimate of 550 units for Airbus SE and Boeing Co. aircraft, the Wall Street Journal reported.
- Production problems have plagued development of the new Trent 7000 engine used in the new Airbus A330neo wide-body. Airbus has committed to delivering 800 airliners this year and had delivered 503 by September.
- Boeing still plans to deliver 810 to 815 airplanes in 2018, as 737 fuselage shipments were on schedule and the company says engine deliveries will be on track by the end of the year, the Journal reported.
Both Airbus and Boeing have struggled with supply chain issues as they ramp up to meet the demand for sophisticated aircraft built with a truly global supply chain. Airbus missed delivery deadlines in 2015 for the A350 due to supply chain problems with its toilet supplier, according to MRO Network. European carrier Primera Air closed its doors in October due in part to delivery delays of the Airbus A321neo to its fleet.
In 2017, the worldwide fleet of commercial aircraft grew by 4% to more than 31,000, with an order backlog of nearly 10 years, according to the Centre of Aviation. A similar pace is expected for 2018, and critical suppliers are struggling to keep up.
Engine makers — including Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney — have held up aircraft deliveries, including 60 Airbus A320neos that were complete except for the engines. Boeing has parked 737 planes awaiting engines and has also experienced delays in fuselage production.
Demand for passenger aircraft is expected to remain strong. Some 60% of the respondents in International Airline Transport Association's October industry confidence survey said they expect higher passenger demand over the next 12 months, and 52% foresee airfreight volumes rising in 2019.
Boeing's Commercial Market Outlook cites the explosive growth of passenger demand in Asia and fleet renewal requirements for U.S. and European carriers as behind the bulging order book for aircraft manufacturers. In India, domestic air travel grew at twice the global average and airlines have ordered about 1,000 aircraft over the next eight years, Quartz reported.