Airbus is seeking to move on from problems with A320neo engines that caused it to miss delivery targets in the first quarter.
The engine issues and associated delivery delays for A320neo aircraft saw Airbus’s Q1 pre-tax profit fall 65% to €199 million, while its free cash flow plummeted to negative €3.6 billion ($4.3 billion).
“The first quarter performance reflects the shortage of A320neo engines and back-loaded aircraft deliveries,” said Airbus CEO Tom Enders.
“It’s a challenging situation for all but based on the confidence expressed by the engine makers and their ability to deliver on commitments, we can confirm our full-year outlook,” he added.
That outlook is for 800 aircraft deliveries in 2018. As in 2017, this will require Airbus to accelerate production through the rest of the year, as it only delivered 121 aircraft in the first quarter.
Airbus appears confident it can achieve this, and is even discussing with engine and other suppliers the feasibility of a further narrowbody production ramp up.
The OEM plans to raise production to 60 A320-family aircraft per month by mid-2019, but reports have circulated that the it is considering a further push to 70 per month.
Safran – one half of the CFM alliance – has previously indicated it could only support such a move by 2021 at the earliest.
Airbus has also said that it will cut A330 production to 50 per year from 2019. The manufacturer has a backlog of about 300 A330s, most of which are the new engine option A330-900. However, following the cancellation of an order from Hawaiian Airlines, it presently has no customers for the A330-800.