Air Freight News

Airbus Speeds Jet Handovers in March for Year’s Best Month

Airbus SE handed over 72 aircraft last month, stepping up deliveries even as coronavirus flare-ups delayed a recovery in air travel.

The surge reported Thursday confirmed an earlier Bloomberg report and marked the best performance so far this year for the European planemaker. Its quarterly total of 125 surpassed the 122 aircraft delivered in the year-ago period, largely before the pandemic took hold.

The uptick will ease concerns about Airbus’s inventory of undelivered aircraft, which stood at about 100 in mid-February. Matching deliveries with build rates is vital for the manufacturer as it seeks to ramp up output of its flagship A320 family of aircraft during the third quarter.

Airbus shares rose 2.8% as of 10:04 a.m. in Paris, extending gains for the year to 15%.

The latest figures “support the 40-a-month build rate for its most profitable airplane,” Bloomberg Intelligence analysts George Ferguson and Francois Duflot said in a note. Help came in the form of the U.S.-China trade dispute, with China taking 10 Airbus narrow-bodies as opposed to planes from U.S rival Boeing Co., and low-cost carriers, they said.

The European planemaker had eight cancellations in March, with lessor Avolon Holdings Ltd. scrapping some existing narrowbody orders to adjust its mix of aircraft, according to figures released Thursday. Airbus saw 28 orders, taking the net total this year to minus 61 after Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA canceled a slew of jets in February.

Gloomy Outlook

While increasing handovers is good news for the manufacturer, the outlook for travel in Europe and Asia remains gloomy, putting pressure on the finances of key Airbus customers. Forward bookings for May to September are currently at just 15% of 2019 levels in Europe and 14% in Asia, according to the International Air Transport Association. The U.K. said overnight it will decide by early next month whether Britons can resume international holidays in mid-May.

Given a multi-year order backlog, Airbus has said it’s more focused on delivering planes to customers during the crisis than securing new commitments. Nevertheless, this year the company has fallen behind Boeing in order flow.

That trend likely continued in March, with Boeing securing a bumper commitment for its 737 Max from Southwest Airlines Co. The U.S. airline had publicly flirted with the Airbus A220, a smaller single-aisle jet.



© Bloomberg
The author’s opinion are not necessarily the opinions of the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT).

Similar Stories

Thai Airways creditors set to vote on debt restructuring plan

Thai Airways International Pcl faces a key hurdle Wednesday as the national flag carrier navigates the devastation wreaked on the global travel industry by the pandemic.

View Article
Delta seeks volunteers to fill vacancies at airport lounges

Delta Air Lines Inc. is looking for employees to take shifts cleaning tables and restocking the buffet at Atlanta airport loyalty lounges after its normal contractor for the jobs couldn’t…

View Article
Duty-free giants are handing out free flights to lure customers

Last month, Hyun Jung-a boarded a flight from South Korea’s Incheon Airport. Around two hours later, she was back in the same airport and loading up on duty-free shopping, despite…

View Article
Swiss WorldCargo resuming flights to Boston on May 21st
View Article
Turkish Airlines Cargo opens new cargo connection from Munich to Istanbul
View Article
Airbus readies suppliers for next step in A320 ramp up

Airbus SE has told suppliers to be ready for a ramp up in production of its best-selling A320 narrow-body jet series to as many as 53 a month by the…

View Article