There has been a steady flow of news about A320neo program delivery delays. So far, these have all been directed at the P&W GTF engine. P&W has explained to us that the issue is minor and a fix is being implemented. A number of GTF powered neos have been delivered and are, as far as we know, doing what they are meant to do.
Then Reuters added that the LEAP engine is also being modified. We contacted Reuters to ask about this and were told that CFM provided an explanation that it is re-blading the LPC which may or may not be related to an issue found in tests (CFM says not, just an enhancement). This change affects all LEAP engines, for both Boeing and Airbus. The change will come into effect after entry to service for LEAP-1A and before EIS for 1B and 1C. CFM is not modifying their 15% fuel savings target; the changes are to improve durability by allowing more flying time between major overhauls. What was not clear is how many production engines have been shipped without the modification and when these will be updated. This is a information Airbus controls and has not shared. CFM advised us “The booster enhancement is not a required modification. The current configuration meets all requirements so there is no need to change the hardware unless they want to do so at the first shop visit, which would happen seven or more years after entry into service.”
Airbus has its hands full with the neo program. Which brings us back to the source of complaint mentioned above. Airbus has one customer that is voluble on the slower than expected neo deliveries. Now this customer says he is speaking with Boeing, it appears Qatar is considering 737NGs. Other neo customers may be equally annoyed about the delays – after all they too run a business that is schedule driven. But they don’t don’t use the media to send messages.