Airbus speeds up deliveries and signs key Chinese aircraft order

By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus deliveries accelerated in October to 497 planes so far this year, an underlying total of 495 after excluding two Aeroflot deliveries canceled due to Western sanctions against Russia, the aircraft manufacturer announced on Tuesday.

Airbus delivered 60 planes in October, compared to 55 the previous month. It still has what most analysts have called a daunting but largely achievable task of hitting a target of 700 deliveries in 2022, following issues with tattered global supply chains.

“Airbus will have to match 2017 (201 deliveries for the remaining two months), 2018 (216) and 2019 (215 aircraft),” Agency Partners analyst Sash Tusa said in a note to investors.

“None of those years were very fun in terms of production and management.”

In total deliveries so far this year, widebody deliveries have been robust, he added, pointing to recent signs from automakers and leasing giant AerCap of a recovery in a market segment. which has been in the doldrums for a long time.

Airbus also took 177 new orders in October, up 163 after a reshuffling of a new order from British Airways owner IAG, which placed an expanded order for 59 planes that replaced a previous batch of 14 single-aisle jets.

Airbus also booked an order for 40 jets from legacy operator Boeing Xiamen Airlines, which tentatively added Airbus as a supplier in September, a sign of Beijing’s apparent tilt towards Europe amid tensions with Washington.

China watchers said the airline’s decision to reduce its reliance on Boeing was seen as particularly symbolic after Chinese President Xi Jinping toured the cockpit of a larger Xiamen 787 during a visit at the Seattle-area Boeing plant in 2015.

Boeing declined to comment on the order, the release of which coincided with the first day of the Zhuhai Air Show in China.

The update comes on top of existing orders for 140 jets re-announced by China last week in what experts have described as an effort to feature a visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

However, it seemed to surprise both the planner and German officials as Scholz sought to downplay the new deals amid domestic concerns that Berlin would prioritize economic ties over security and other strategic issues. .

The Xiamen deal lifted Airbus’ orders so far this year above the 1,000 mark. After 223 cancellations, its 1,033 gross orders fell to a net total of 810 in the first 10 month.

Boeing said earlier that its deliveries fell in October due to quality issues, while orders rose as the US aircraft maker continued to see strong demand for new planes.

So far this year, it has taken 664 new orders or 550 after cancellations and before accounting adjustments.

Boeing, which is recovering from a 737 MAX safety crisis and industrial issues on the 787, said it delivered 363 planes in the first 10 months of the year.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Josie Kao)

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