Despite Airbus announcing that it has increased its production rates for the first half of 2019, particularly with the A320 family of aircraft, this has not stopped customers complaining about the delays in receiving their aircraft. In July, BOC Aviation revealed lagging deliveries of seven A320neo aircraft which will now mean that these will not arrive until early next year. In particular, the lessor stated that: “We now expect delivery delays could result in up to 30 aircraft being delayed out of 2019, including three for which an airline customer has the right to acquire the aircraft on delivery.”
Recently William Walsh, IAG CEO and executive director said that delays with the A321LR were “unacceptable” and opening urged Airbus to “improve their performance”.
During a meeting with investors on August 2, Walsh said: “As you have heard me say I am disappointed with the performance of Airbus. There has been very poor delivery from Hamburg on the A321. It’s not just for us, as you know. I’m sure by now you’ve heard that every airline is excited about taking the A321LR express huge disappointment about the delays that they’re encountering.
“We need Airbus to improve their performance, and they need to get working on that very quickly because, quite honestly, the delays that we’re seeing are just completely unacceptable, and it is impacting on the growth plans that we have. That’s particularly true with what we want to do with Aer Lingus on the transatlantic route,” said Walsh.
The Aer Lingus transatlantic issue that Walsh referred to started in March 2019. Aer Lingus, an Irish carrier belonging to IAG announced that it was postponing its Montreal to Dublin service, which was expected to commence in August 2019. But the airline now intends to open the route in mid-2020. The operator has stated it has had to push back the launch of the service due to the ongoing issues with the A321 production line in Hamburg.
During the meeting Walsh made it clear that the group still has a significant number of aircraft orders to place and delays caused with Airbus products may mean the group looks elsewhere in the future.