This week, news has come out indicating that Embraer is receiving requests to defer the delivery of new aircraft. The requests are due to the impact of the coronavirus and the slowdown of global travel.
Requests for deferments
“We had some inbound requests for relatively short-term deferments, but nothing that would push aircraft [delivery] out of the calendar year. We are talking about a delay of a few weeks or a month,” – John Slattery, Embraer Commercial Aircraft president and CEO via AIN
The remarks were made to AIN during an aviation summit organized by Brussels-based airline trade association Airlines For Europe (A4E). Slattery says that his company will be accommodating these requests where possible. So far, Embraer has not experienced any outright order cancelations from any of its customers.
Embraer has recently launched the E-Jet E2 – a regional jet with increased fuel efficiency compared to its predecessors. The latest product and its three variants have roughly nine different customers sharing over 170 aircraft orders.
Supporting customer airlines
Slattery also told AIN that the scheduled operations of airlines have been reduced by 20-90 percent depending on the part of the world they are based in. He continued by saying:
“Our focus now is trying to support our airlines from an operational perspective as they deal with this…We are trying to make more resources available,”
A key form of support that Embraer is providing includes facilitating maintenance for the grounded fleets of its customers. Although maintenance is less intensive for aircraft that remain on the ground, it still needs to take place in various ways. This may include the flushing and replacement of normal operational fluids with ones made more for long-term preservation.
Not just Embraer receiving requests
Embraer isn’t the only aircraft manufacturer getting requests for deferred deliveries. In fact, long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X has said that it will defer delivery of 78 Airbus A330neo aircraft as it makes changes to its fleet to reduce costs.
The airline says that the ongoing impact of coronavirus is forcing the airline to reconsider its plans as it continues to operate at a loss. The airline plans to use its smaller Airbus A321s in place of the A330s on medium-haul routes.
As airlines around the world continue to struggle with decreased demand and comply with travel restrictions put up by various countries, there has been far less need for aircraft new or old. This is having far-reaching effects throughout the industry as staff are being asked to take voluntary or involuntary leave and airports are being asked to relax their policies on slot management.
If deliveries are deferred long enough, then manufacturers may also face their own staffing issues – further impacting the global economy. Thankfully it has not yet come to that.
Do you think we’ll see more order deferments in the weeks to come?