By Dow Jones Business News,
June 01, 2014, 08:57:00 AM EDT
By Robert Wall
DOHA-- Airbus Group NV chief airplane salesman John Leahy said the company's A320neo single-aisle jet remains on
schedule, even though a variant of the aircraft's engine suffered a major failure on a rival plane.
An engine built by the Pratt & Whitney unit of United Technologies Corp. on May 29 suffered a major failure during
ground tests on a Bombardier Inc. CSeries plane. The A320neo, an upgrade Airbus is developing for its best-selling
narrowbody, uses a similar version of the Pratt & Whitney engines.
"It should not affect us in the slightest," said Leahy, chief operating officer for customers at Airbus's
commercial airplane arm, as he unveiled an order from Air New Zealand to buy 14 A320 single-aisle aircraft, including 10
re-engined A320neo jets.
Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders said last week the A320neo is due to fly for the first time in September ahead of
first customer deliveries next year. Assuring a "flawless" service introduction is important, he told shareholders.
Airbus is ramping up A320 production and expects to build 46 planes a month starting in 2016. The Toulouse-based
plane maker may boost output further once it has transitioned to the A320neo from 2018.
Airbus also offers the A320neo with a turbine developed by General Electric Co. and Safran SA. That model is due in
The cause of the engine failure during ground maintenance training of the Canadian jet still isn't known. Canadian
aviation safety officials are reviewing the incident.
Pratt & Whitney has sold more than 5,500 geared turbofan engines, most for the A320neo. The engine also is due to
be used on the Mitsubishi Aircraft regional jet, an upgraded plane from Brazil's Embraer SA and a new Russian airliner.
Bombardier has said it plans to deliver the first CSeries that can seat between 100-150 passengers in the second
half of next year. The need for additional tests and to develop software have already set the program's schedule back a
Write to Robert Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org
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