Paris: Airbus’ newest jetliner, the long-range A321XLR, is running 14 to 16 months behind schedule, a major customer said Monday, noting that it’s one of several popular aircraft caught in production snarls that show no sign of easing.
Boeing and Airbus recently notified Air Lease Corp. of another round of delays affecting jets due in 2023 and 2024, John Plueger, the aircraft-leasing company’s CEO, said Monday during a first-quarter earnings presentation. One of the manufacturers also told Air Lease the production logjam could stretch into 2028, he added, without naming the company.
“We fully expect delays to persist for several years,” Plueger said.
The late-arriving aircraft are frustrating because Air Lease is trying to meet booming demand for the Airbus models, he said. Air Lease is a launch customer for the A321XLR and tailored its order book around appetite for the jet family, according to Plueger. An Airbus spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Airbus first said it expected to bring the jet to market this year, but pushed that back to mid-2024 as regulators probed a potential fire hazard posed by its redesigned center fuel tank.
However, the delays could also be helpful. Airline interest in fuel-efficient new jets isn’t letting up, and that’s starting to nudge up pricing and lease rates, Plueger said. Air Lease has takers for 93 per cent of its expected deliveries through 2024, and 2025 slots are being snapped up, too.
“From a scarcity aspect, this does serve to benefit the value of our existing fleet and the deliveries we are receiving,” Plueger said.