By Tim Hepher
PARIS Nov 25 Airbus tentatively aims
to deliver as many as 80 A350 jetliners in 2017, two people
familiar with the plans said on Friday.
The target marks a new stage in ambitious plans to raise
output of the company's newest long-haul jet to 10 a month in
2018, but depends mainly on how successful suppliers will be in
curbing delays in cabin equipment.
An Airbus spokesman declined to comment on the provisional
thinking on deliveries for 2017, which would equate to
production of just under 7 aircraft a month.
Airbus is expected to give details of its 2017 delivery
plans in February.
Speaking at an event to mark the first flight of the large
A350-1000 variant on Thursday, Airbus planemaking chief Fabrice
Bregier said he was more optimistic than before about reaching a
target of at least 50 A350 deliveries in 2016.
Airbus delivered the 35th airplane of the year on Thursday.
At the same time, Airbus aims to swiftly increase deliveries
of the smaller A320neo, which have been held back by delays in
the supply of engines from U.S.-based Pratt & Whitney.
Programmes chief Didier Evrard told Reuters on Thursday the
supply chain had improved but remained under scrutiny.
Also key to the ramp-up is the amount of outstanding work
that needs to be done later in the assembly process than
scheduled, a drag on time and costs that is often caused by
missing or defective parts.
Bregier said on Thursday the amount of A350-900 outstanding
work had fallen to a "low level".
Airbus plans to deliver the first of the larger A350-1000
variant "hopefully a bit less than year from now," well within
the target of second-half 2017, following an accelerated
programme of flight tests, Bregier told reporters.
It aims for just under 12 months of flight tests, compared
with 14.5 for the earlier A350-900 model.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Mark