October 19, 2017 / 8:52 AM / a year ago

Airbus says A320neo delivery goal is tough but within reach

A scale model of an Airbus A330neo aircraft is pictured during its maiden flight event in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - Airbus (AIR.PA) planemaking chief Fabrice Bregier said the company still expects to deliver “around 200” A320neo aircraft in 2017, but added that reaching this existing target would be “tough” in the wake of delayed engine deliveries.

Bregier said Pratt & Whitney (UTX.N), whose industrial problems have delayed deliveries of jets at Airbus plants, was testing re-designed parts for its engines and expected to start delivering the improved versions at the end of this year.

Bregier was speaking to reporters after the maiden take-off of the A330neo, an upgraded version of the company’s most profitable wide-body jet that is aimed at challenging the latest version of Boeing’s (BA.N) 787 Dreamliner.

Airbus has decided to improve the plane’s maximum take-off weight by around 4 percent to 251 tonnes so that the A330neo can serve longer routes like Kuala Lumpur to London, he added.

Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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