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Airbus Will Not Build A320neo Engine Housings

June 26, 2020
The jet-builder has cancelled an earlier plan to bring in-house the production of nacelles for A320neo turbofan engines, angering union and government officials.

Airbus SE has pulled back from an earlier plan to manufacture some A320neo nacelles in its own workshops, a plan that would have allowed the OEM also to take on some maintenance work for one of its best-selling aircraft.

The Airbus A320neo ("new engine option") entered service in 2016 as an updated version of the twin-engine, narrow-body A320 aircraft. Airlines are offered a choice of a CFM International LEAP-A or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G high-bypass turbofan engines.

In 2017 Airbus began planning to take the production of engine nacelles in-house, and later it modified the plan to produce only the LEAP-1A engine nacelles. Pratt & Whitney would continue to produce the nacelles for engines it supplied.

Now, Airbus has dropped the initiative entirely – a decision that reportedly has angered unions and provincial figures in south-central France, where Airbus is headquartered and operates several manufacturing plants. The company is expected to renew its orders with the nacelle suppliers in the coming weeks.

According to published reports, the union said the decision runs counter to the efforts by French officials to preserve high-tech employment in the region, as demonstrated by the $17-billion plan assembled by the government recently to support the domestic aircraft and defense industry.

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