Business Irish

Friday 19 October 2018

Aer Lingus insists Airbus delays will not hit expansion plans

 

Aer Lingus last week launched its annual aircraft maintenance and engineering apprentice scheme. Photo: Arnold Bell Photographer
Aer Lingus last week launched its annual aircraft maintenance and engineering apprentice scheme. Photo: Arnold Bell Photographer

Fearghal O'Connor

Aer Lingus remains confident that its expansion plans for next summer will not be hindered, despite production delays at Airbus that could delay its new fleet of long-haul aircraft.

It has ordered a fleet of eight Airbus A321neo long-range aircraft that are seen as a potential game-changer because of the flexibility and efficiency they will provide on transatlantic routes.

But airplane maker Airbus has been dogged with production delays, particularly with regard to engines. One informed source said the Aer Lingus order could face delays of up to six months, meaning the new aircraft would not be available for any planned expansion next summer. Another source said that although the order was officially still on schedule, delays were possible.

Asked to comment, Aer Lingus chief corporate affairs officer Donal Moriarty said: "Whilst Airbus is experiencing some production delays on the A321neo LR aircraft, we will work with our leasing partner and with Airbus to minimise any delays to deliveries to Aer Lingus. We do not expect our first deliveries to be delayed to the third quarter of 2019. Similarly, we expect there to be no impact on the timing of any announcements of new routes."

But he said the airline was concerned about significant capacity constraints in Dublin: "The airport is full. Urgent steps therefore need to be taken to address the infrastructure deficits at the airport. Prior to the delivery of such infrastructure, significant process improvement and optimisation of existing infrastructure is required to address the congestion and to facilitate growth."

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