PARIS: A rebound in air travel in China and the United States helped to drive a surge in March deliveries for Airbus, sending the plane maker’s shares higher. Airbus reported slightly higher deliveries for the first quarter and posted 39 gross orders, including a new deal for 20 A220s to an unidentified buyer.
But the company’s net orders – which are adjusted for cancellations – remained in negative territory for the first quarter, with a total of minus 61 net orders dominated by a Norwegian cancellation unveiled in the previous month.
The brisk pace of deliveries confirms a Reuters report on Wednesday that the world’s largest plane maker was poised to match or even eclipse the 122 deliveries seen in the first quarter of last year after a surge in March.
Airbus shares rose more than 2% early yesterday.
Both Airbus and Boeing have had to cut production and lay off thousands of people as the pandemic hit air travel, with Boeing also emerging from a safety crisis over its 737 MAX.
Several analysts said the surprise leap in March deliveries put Airbus on course to hit its full-year target of repeating the 566 aircraft supplied in 2020, a year marked by Covid-19.
Internally, the plane maker is aiming for more than 600 deliveries, suppliers say.
However, with more than 100 jets already sitting outside its factories as airlines try to save cash, Airbus once again produced more than it delivered in the first quarter.
That implies a US$1bil (RM4.14bil) build-up in inventory, Stifel analyst Harry Breach said. — Reuters