The bottlenecks in the supply chains are further slowing down the world's largest aircraft manufacturer Airbus. "It will take us two years to achieve what we wanted to achieve in one year," said Airbus boss Guillaume Faury when presenting the balance sheet in Toulouse. For 2023, the manager is now targeting the delivery of 720 commercial aircraft - as many as originally planned for 2022. In addition, he considers the targeted record production of 75 medium-haul jets from the A320neo model family per month to be realistic only in 2026. Faury called it "frustrating" that the manufacturer missed its delivery plans last year.
Faury submits to the constraints from outside. "We are adapting our production to the delivery capacities," said the head of the European aviation and armaments group. The supply chain did not recover as quickly as expected. After the slump in air traffic at the beginning of the corona pandemic and the financial hardship of many airlines, Airbus had reduced its production significantly, but then increased it again a bit. However, some suppliers could not keep up with the increases.
Despite orders: production halted due to the pandemic
Faury had already announced in December that it would revise the production plans for the much-demanded A320neo series again. Now the production rate of 65 jets per month should not be reached until the end of 2024. The manager is now targeting the mark of 75 machines per month previously targeted for 2025 for 2026. Before the pandemic, production of the line was around 60 jets per month.
Airbus has a bulging order book, especially for the A320neo family. The production is fully booked for years to come. Competitor Boeing from the USA, on the other hand, has been struggling with home-made problems with several types of aircraft since its competitor model 737 Max was not allowed to take off worldwide for around 20 months from March 2019 after two fatal crashes.
The airline Air India announced the purchase of 470 aircraft from the two major manufacturers on Tuesday, making it the largest aircraft purchase in aviation history. The largest part of the order goes to Airbus with 250 jets. According to Air India manager Nipun Aggarwal, the company has also secured options for 370 additional aircraft from Airbus and Boeing.
Sales increase despite problems
Large-capacity jets for long-haul traffic, which had suffered particularly badly from the pandemic, are also in demand again. Airbus intends to increase production of its wide-body A350 model from the current six per month to nine jets by the end of 2025. Production of the slightly smaller A330neo is expected to increase from three per month to four by 2024.
Despite the problems, Airbus increased its sales by 13 percent to almost 58.8 billion euros last year. Operating earnings before interest and taxes (adjusted EBIT) adjusted for special items increased by 16 percent to 5.6 billion euros. The bottom line was 4.25 billion euros, around one percent more profit than in the previous year, although Airbus put aside almost half a billion euros for the military transporter A400M.