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MIAMI—Qatar Airways said Monday that an engine problem with Airbus Group SE’s new single-aisle A320neo jetliner will cause a slight delay in the first delivery of the updated jet.
Airbus’s flight tests of the Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo, or new engine option, have been stalled for more than a month as it resolves a manufacturing issue with the geared turbofan engine.
The suspension also prevents Airbus from debuting the jet at next week’s Paris air show.
“Airbus told us there will be a delay...not a significant delay, but there will be a delay and we are in consultation with them in this regard,” said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker in an interview on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association annual meeting.
Qatar Airways is the launch customer for the jet and had expected to receive its first A320neo in November. Mr. Al Baker said he still expected to receive the aircraft by the end of the year. Airbus maintained that it expected delivery of the first Pratt-engined model by year end.
The airline has 50 A320neo family aircraft on order. Airbus has more than 3,700 orders for single-aisle A320neo jet, which range in size from 125 to 240 seats.
AerCap Holdings NV, another A320neo customer, also expects to receive its first jet this year. Chief Executive Aengus Kelly said he was confident Pratt & Whitney would quickly fix the issue given the importance of the program to parent United Technologies Corp.
Pratt & Whitney said in a statement said that the problem inside the engine was traced to a small part that holds a seal just below the engine’s combustion chamber that had “disengaged.”
“We understand the cause and we are addressing the finding by switching out this part,” said a spokeswoman, adding that the Airbus test aircraft with its engines “will resume flight tests in the coming weeks and we remain on track to support Airbus’ aircraft delivery schedule in 2015.”
The component is buried deep inside the engine, and Mr. Al Baker said Pratt & Whitney will have to fix and test it, as well as certify the new design.
The European plane maker has shifted some flight trials that are not specific to the type of engine to the CFM International-powered A320neo test aircraft. CFM is a joint venture between General Electric Co. and Safran SA. The CFM-powered model is due to enter service in 2016.