By extending into 2026, the new delays would go beyond previously reported difficulties. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Airbus SE has been warning airlines that some of their aircraft deliveries due in the next two years risk being delayed, an indication that supply-chain glitches at the world’s largest planemaker might extend well beyond the current year.

The European planemaker has been notifying customers in recent weeks that some handovers planned for 2025 and 2026 are at risk of breaching contracted deadlines, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are confidential. Planes could be delayed by months from when they were originally due, the people said.

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Airbus said this week that it won’t be able to deliver the number of aircraft previously predicted for 2024 as it struggles with shortages on components ranging from engines to structural parts to cabin interiors. The company also delayed by a year its plan to increase monthly build rates to 75 units on the A320 model, meaning fewer of its most popular model for customers seeking to upgrade.

“Airbus is facing, at the moment, persistent and specific supply-chain issues,” Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said on a conference call this week after the company cut its guidance. The company’s operating environment “has actually degraded recently against the backdrop of geopolitical tensions and even more on specific supply chain challenges.”

Shares in Airbus fell as much as 3.7 per cent in Paris after Bloomberg News reported on the delays. This week’s losses have dragged the Toulouse, France-based planemaker to a 6.5 per cent decline this year.

The company is largely sold out of its A320 family aircraft until the end of the decade, and its A330 and A350 widebody models are also harder to come by in the next few years as a boom in travel prompts airlines to buy jets in record numbers.

By extending into 2026, the new delays would go beyond previously reported difficulties. Faury has cautioned that supply-chain constraints will remain in place for the next 2-3 years.

Airbus warned late on Monday that alongside the revision in deliveries and production rates, the company will also record lower earnings and cash flow this year than previously guided, in part because of charges at its space unit. The stock fell as much as 10% as a result.

An Airbus spokesman declined to comment on the latest possible delays, citing confidential agreements with its customers. Customers and suppliers are aware of the planemaker’s new guidance issued this week, he said.

Aircraft buyers have lamented the fact that they’re not getting their planes as quickly as they’d like, meaning they often have to fly older models for longer. That, in turn, is driving up costs because older jets require more maintenance and burn more fuel.

Airbus customers had already contended with significant groundings of aircraft because of engine glitches on the A320, and rival Boeing Co. has also been forced to cap production to sort out its manufacturing after a near-fatal accident in January.