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Airbus slams sceptical supplier Raytheon over jet output

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PARIS, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – Europe’s Airbus (AIR.PA) clashed with US giant Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N) on Friday over plans for a record jump in jet aircraft output, after the industry’s largest contractor questioned whether a battered supply chain could hold you well.

The world’s largest aircraft maker said it was sticking to a two-pronged plan to increase production by 50% from current levels by 2025 — a goal that would help Airbus become the first civilian aircraft maker to deliver 1,000 aircraft in one year. .

Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said demand will likely exceed supply for the most-produced mid-range models, where Airbus has an edge over US rival Boeing (BA.N).

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But at the company’s first large-scale investor event in four years, he acknowledged concerns from inflation to interest rates and said the overall recovery was less certain.

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“We are in a period where things are accelerating; we have multiple crises to manage,” Faury said.

He spoke of a possible share buyback as Airbus rebuilds cash depleted by what he called the “existential crisis” of COVID-19, but warned that “we are not there yet”.

Airbus stocks floated in and out of positive territory, up 0.4% by mid-afternoon.

An uptick in travel outside China has seen demand for A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX medium-haul jets recovered faster than expected. But Airbus’ plans to build 75 A320neo aircraft monthly by 2025, up from 50 now, have met with some skepticism.

The head of Raytheon Technologies, owner of motorcycle maker Pratt & Whitney, told a conference last week that Faury could say “tariff 75 by 2025, but we think tariff 65 is feasible.”

Faury called the comments “really useless” and said engine manufacturers were concerned about timing, not number. “They believe in 75. I can be quoted for checking it out,” he told investors.

Raytheon had no immediate comment.

Reuters reported this week that Airbus had eased pressure on suppliers to meet the 2025 deadline, leaving room for 2026, but for now it stuck to targets. The company has not said when it could reach the 75 target by 2025. read more

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The key, suppliers say, is when goals can be achieved consistently.

“We’ll see when we plan to hit 75, hopefully in (20)25. I’m committed to (20)25. That’s probably something we’ll communicate more precisely in our annual results,” Faury said on Friday. .

A220 UPGRADE

Airbus, meanwhile, gave the strongest hint yet that it plans to launch a larger version of its 110- to 130-seat A220 passenger jet, but gave no clues about the timing of the decision.

A stretched version of the lightweight aircraft makes sense, “but we don’t want to be right too early,” Faury said.

The A220 was developed with the bulk of the jet market in mind, but Canadian Bombardier struggled to keep up with the investments needed to relocate Airbus and Boeing and sold its aerospace gem to Airbus in 2018.

Airbus has faced higher-than-expected costs for the loss-making program, but believes it could break even by mid-decade.

An A220-500 would begin the process of replacing the 150-seat A320neo, Europe’s cash cow in aerospace and a key battleground in the transatlantic war for sale with Boeing.

Airbus has taken a leading lead in most of the single-aisle market, most recently via the larger A321neo, which finance director Dominik Asam said would have an increasing share of sales.

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Although Airbus was born as a producer of long-haul wide-body aircraft with the A300, which launched 50 years ago next month, its biggest commercial success by far has been the single-aisle workhorse that has become popular by budget airlines.

Improvements in the largest single-aisle jets have eroded the bottom end of a market reserved for decades for wide-body jets like Boeing’s 747, 777 and 787 or the Airbus A350.

Faury said Airbus aims to step up competition with Boeing in the wide-body market, starting with the new A350 Freighter. Experts say Boeing dominates airfreight, having so far surpassed the A350 with its future 777X Freighter.

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Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Edmund Blair and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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