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Airbus posts modest August deliveries, highlighting engine delays

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Airbus posts modest August deliveries, highlighting engine delays

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By Tim Hepher PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus <AIR.PA> said on Wednesday it had delivered eight A320neo-family jets in August and 76 so far this year, highlighting uncertainty over its 2017 delivery schedule after delays in receiving engines from its U.S. supplier. Deliveries of the newest member of Airbus’s narrowbody jet family, which generates most of its profits, have been disrupted by delays in engine supply from United Technologies <UTX.N> subsidiary Pratt & Whitney. In July, Airbus was forced to water down its financial guidance for the year, and tensions with the supplier flared last week when it told the United Technologies not to let its plans to buy Rockwell Collins <COL.N> distract if from resolving the issue. The announcement that Airbus had delivered 76 A320neo-family aircraft this year, leaves it just 38 percent of the way towards its full-year goal of 200 deliveries with just four months left. Airbus has said A320neo deliveries would be weighted towards the second half of the year, but industry sources said doubts were growing over whether Airbus could meet its full-year goal. United Technologies said this week it would not lose focus on industrial issues and stuck to its engine production goals. Elsewhere on its delivery book, Airbus said it had delivered eight A350 aircraft in August, bringing the total so far this year to 43. Airbus has not published a 2017 target for that model, but industry sources say it is aiming for about 80. Rival Boeing leads on both deliveries and orders this year. For the first eight months, Airbus delivered 399 aircraft, virtually unchanged from 400 at the same point last year. Finance Director Harald Wilhelm has said Airbus aims to deliver more than 720 aircraft in 2017, exceeding official guidance of more than 700, for a gain of 4.7 percent compared with 2016. Airbus sold 12 aircraft in the typically quiet month of August and took two cancellations. It sold 264 aircraft in the first eight months, or 215 after adjusting for cancellations. In roughly the same period, Boeing sold 491 aircraft – or 424 after cancellations. Between January and July, the latest period for which data is available, Boeing delivered 410 jets. Airbus had said earlier on Wednesday it sold 10 A350 jets to United Airlines <UAL.N> and agreed to defer deliveries as part of a restructured order from the U.S. airline.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Edmund Blair)
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