Airbus said Wednesday that earnings in the first three months of 2022 rose to 1.22 billion euros ($1.28 billion), helped by an increase in aircraft deliveries as airlines recover from the worst of the pandemic.
Revenue rose 15% from a year earlier, to 12 billion euros ($12.645 billion).
Airbus said it plans to speed up production of its A320 family of planes that compete with Boeing 737s to 75 per month by 2025.
However, the Toulouse, France-based manufacturer said the start of passenger service for its new A321 XLR long-range plane will be delayed from late 2023 until early 2024. Airbus has encountered more difficulty than it expected in meeting certification requirements set by Europe’s aviation regulator.
The ramp-up in A320 production builds on a current Airbus goal to build 65 A320s a month by the middle of 2023. The company hopes to take advantage of strong demand for short and medium-range planes. Boeing is also trying to churn out more 737 Max jets but is producing only about 30 a month.
The market for those “narrowbody” planes is much stronger than demand for bigger, two-aisle “widebody” planes that are mostly for long-haul international flights — a segment of the travel market that has been slower to recover.
Some analysts question whether the supply chain is strong enough to let Airbus hit production targets. Airbus said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting ban on Russian imports has increased the company’s exposure to supply-chain disruptions. It used titanium from Russia in aircraft parts.
The company stood by its targets of delivering 720 airliners this year and producing 5.5 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in adjusted profit before taxes, even with rising risks due to the “complex geopolitical and economic environment,” said CEO Guillaume Faury.