Jet trouble could disrupt Aer Lingus buying plans

By Pádraig Hoare

Aer Lingus owner IAG has declined to say if the decision of Airbus to suspend delivery of some of its highly-touted A320 Neo aircraft will affect the Irish airline’s plans.

IAG said “discussions were continuing” with the plane manufacturer, whose shares fell as reports emerged the A320 Neo aircraft had seen three in-flight engine shutdowns on India’s low-cost airline IndiGo. 

IAG — parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling — signed a deal last year for engine-maker Pratt & Whitney to power 47 Airbus A320 Neo aircraft.

Aer Lingus is due to take delivery of around seven of the related Airbus A321 Neo planes in 2019 and 2020 to replace some of its current long-haul fleet.

The Airbus A320 Neo family is more fuel efficient and can fly further distances. Around 6,000 A320 Neo planes have been ordered by various airlines across the world, with more than 250 so far delivered, according to Airbus.

Airbus said 113 Pratt & Whitney powered A320 Neo family aircraft are flying with 18 customers.

A spokeswoman for IAG said: “We continue to discuss our airlines’ delivery schedule for new Neo A320 short-haul aircraft with Airbus.”

The company declined to comment on Aer Lingus.

Airbus has been forced to suspend some deliveries of its A320 Neo jet following another issue with the engines supplied by Pratt & Whitney. 

Indian airline IndiGo on Sunday disclosed three in-flight shutdowns, and said pilots have had to turn back before taking off in three other instances. 

Pratt & Whitney said: “The company is working to assess an overall industrial and delivery plan to minimise customer disruption.”

Shares in Airbus were down around 1%.

Additional reporting Bloomberg

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