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Airbus CEO says supply chain still 'very complex'

FILE PHOTO: Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury

By Tim Hepher

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Airbus will have a clearer picture on 2022 deliveries by the end of November but the supply chain environment "remains very complex", Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said on Tuesday.

Attending industry talks in Brussels, Faury declined to comment directly on whether Airbus would hit a year-end goal of "around 700" jet deliveries after preliminary external November data and industry sources pointed to growing challenges.

"I will have a clearer picture by the end of November, but as you see the environment remains very complex and is really the main challenge we have to face," he told reporters.

"So yes, we are working against a lot of tensions difficulties, and that's nothing brand new," Faury said.

On Monday, Reuters reported a senior supply chain source as saying it would be difficult to reach the full-year target.

Latest available data from aircraft analyst Cirium showed Airbus had delivered 536 aircraft so far this year. Allowing for reporting delays that could be around a dozen higher with more to come in the final days of November, sources said on Monday.

Faury said supply chains had broadly worked through one set of COVID-related problems earlier this year only to see new problems emerge over recent months, including the ripple effect on energy costs from the conflict in Ukraine.

"I don't think it's going to get better in the short term ... in the next six months. I don't think it's going to get worse either," Faury told reporters at a meeting of the ASD European aerospace and defence industry association.

"I consider that the supply chain crisis is going to be longer than what we thought a couple of months ago. It's more challenging and a more difficult environment as we speak."

Leonardo Chief Executive Alessandro Profumo, who chairs ASD, said prime contractors like Airbus and Leonardo and others should "take care" of the supply chain, without elaborating on what kind of support companies should provide.

"Without a strong supply chain we won't be strong, so clearly this is a role we have," he said at the same event.

ASD said the European sector had returned to pre-pandemic employment levels close to 900,000 jobs.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by David Goodman and Alexander Smith)