Whether Airbus delivered 790 aircraft last year or 800 is probably immaterial. It's a big number either way. But how long can this boom in aircraft manufacturing last? Surely not forever, right?
Airbus SE came nail-bitingly close to meeting its reduced target for aircraft deliveries last year as factories operated until the last minutes of Dec. 31 to complete remaining jetliners, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
- Handovers for the 12 months topped 790, falling just short of the goal of 800, said one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing confidential figures. An Airbus spokesman declined to comment, saying official numbers will be released on Jan. 11.
- Airbus fell as much as 7.9 percent, before paring losses. They traded 3.6 percent lower at 83.13 euros as of 5:19 p.m. in Paris.
- Airbus initially aimed to deliver close to 820 planes in 2018, including the C Series model acquired from Bombardier Inc. and renamed the A220. It cut that target in October amid production headaches at engine suppliers.
- The company needed to hand over 127 aircraft last month to meet the goal, matching a record monthly tally from a year earlier. The narrow miss is nevertheless a good sign for incoming Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury, who has focused on guiding the jetliner arm through production challenges before turning his attention to the wider group.
- The manufacturer fell behind early in 2018 with engine issues afflicting its top-selling A320neo single-aisle family, then later cut its forecast over slow turbine deliveries for its A330neo wide-body. A plant in Hamburg also had trouble keeping up with demand for the long-range version of the A320.
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Photo credit: Airbus had hoped to deliver 800 aircraft last year, but fell 10 planes short. Pictured is an Airbus factory floor. Bloomberg