Airbus sees backloaded deliveries in 2018, reaffirms target

Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders waits to visit final assembly line at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac, near Toulouse, France March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

(Reuters) - Airbus AIR.PA Chief Executive Tom Enders said on Wednesday the planemaker expects deliveries of narrowbody jets once again to be backloaded towards the latter part of the year - possibly even more so than before - due to ongoing engine issues.

Deliveries have been delayed by delivery and quality problems on engines provided by Pratt & Whitney, and most recently engines from French-U.S. venture CFM SAF.PAGE.N. Pratt-powered A320neo deliveries have been suspended.

Both engine suppliers for Airbus narrowbody jets remain "stressed," but Airbus - whose main rival is Boeing BA.N - is sticking by a target of delivering some 800 aircraft this year, Enders said.

“We are quite optimistic they can meet (goals) but it is not going to be a walk in the park,” he said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, monitored by webcast.

Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta