Aerospace manufacturers: Good, in parts

THE sky has never looked brighter for the world’s big planemakers. Airbus’s A320neo, a more efficient version of its most popular model, made its maiden flight on September 25th. Over 3,200 are on order and deliveries will start at the end of 2015. Airbus and Boeing have bulging order books, with a combined backlog of 10,000 aircraft worth nearly $1 trillion at list prices. The makers of engines, electronic systems and bits of airframe will also be rubbing their hands at the prospect of years of guaranteed business. But can suppliers cope with the ramp-up in production?Deloitte, a consulting firm, reckons the aircraftmakers’ output will rise by a quarter in the next ten years. Steven Udvar-Hazy, the boss of Air Lease Corp, a giant leasing firm (and thus a big buyer of new planes), worries that although Airbus and Boeing will have the capacity to assemble the planes, their suppliers may struggle to deliver the parts.To complicate matters, a variety of new planes, each with its own complex chain of component-makers, is set to roll out of the hangars, points out David Stewart of ICFI, another consultant. Having recently launched the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing is working…

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