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Aug 6, 2020

Airbus deliveries jump 36% for third straight monthly gain

Darren Sissons disccuses Airbus


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Airbus SE delivered 49 new jets to its customers last month, overcoming travel restrictions and virus-afflicted demand to post its third straight monthly increase.

The July tally, achieved solely with narrow-body aircraft, marked a 36 per cent increase from the 36 handovers recorded in June, according to a statement Thursday. Airbus registered four new orders during the month and had no cancellations -- an improvement from the prior month, which saw a negative order balance.

Deliveries were boosted by a system that delegates some essential customer checks to the manufacturer’s own engineers, people familiar with the matter said earlier, asking for anonymity discussing data that hadn’t yet been made public.

The so-called e-delivery option “continues to facilitate our ability to deliver aircraft during an unprecedented time of travel restrictions and quarantines,” said Stefan Schaffrath, an Airbus spokesman.

Cash Influx

Maintaining jetliner handovers to those customers that still want them is vital for Airbus as it seeks to bolster cash flow, since the biggest payment for planes comes when the buyer receives them. The Toulouse, France-based company had 145 aircraft undelivered as of June 30.

The company shipped 47 of its best-selling A320-series narrow-bodies, as well as two of the smaller A220 series in July. Customers taking delivery included Air Canada, Egypt Air and India’s Vistara.

Through July, the European manufacturer had racked up 245 deliveries this year. U.S. rival Boeing Co., which had to contend with the continued grounding of its 737 Max following two fatal crashes, had logged 70 deliveries as of June 30. It reports July figures next Tuesday.

While Airbus is outpacing Boeing, the number of shipments is still depressed amid an unprecedented global slowdown in air travel. Total deliveries through July were down 46 per cent from a year earlier, when Airbus factories were straining to meet demand.

Chief Financial Officer Dominik Asam said on an earnings call last week that deliveries should align with production this quarter. The company is set to build 51 aircraft a month based on current levels of output, including A320s, the smaller A220 narrow-body and larger twin-aisle models.

Both Airbus and Boeing are in a delicate balancing act brought on by the pandemic, in which they’re seeking to exert pressure on carriers to take planes ordered in better times, while also remaining mindful of the continued viability of their customers.

Still, Airbus chief Guillaume Faury struck an optimistic note at the July 30 earnings, raising the prospect of a ramp-up in A320-family production as soon as the second half of next year, though he said it was unlikely to occur until 2022.