Experimental studies and numerical simulations are performed to investigate the structural response of adhesively bonded CFRP cylindrical splice-joint panels subjected to axial compression. Splicer joints used in aerospace composite structures need to sustain the design ultimate loads in the presence of flaws due to manufacturing (debonds), in order to demonstrate compliance with flightworthiness. CFRP cylindrical splice-joint specimens with and without debonds are subjected to compression load. Experimental data reveals that the load-carrying capacity of splicer joint decreases in the presence of debonds. Numerical simulations are carried out in line with experimental observations using finite element analysis. Good correlations with experimental results are obtained both in terms of buckling load capacity and load-displacement responses. Non-destructive methods, pulsed thermography and acoustic emission, are employed to detect and monitor the response of debond respectively. Parametric studies are also performed using finite element analysis to assess the influence of bi-directional loading and the effect of the physical gap provided between basic panels in the splicer joints. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.