Airbus sales surge on easing global lockdowns

Photo: AP

The airplane producer Airbus announced a robust growth in demand for new planes as countries started to relief restrictions, related to pandemic. One of the main restrictions was linked to travel and transport and grounded the fleet of many carriers. The lack of transport and travel lead to a drastic slump in demand for new planes. But March seemed to be the turning point for Airbus which reported first signs of recovery, Reuters reported.

The plane maker 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 that the world’s largest plane maker was poised to match or even surpass the 122 deliveries seen in the first quarter of last year after a surge in March.

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. 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 $1 billion build-up in inventory. Data issued this week highlighted a trend of buyers upgrading orders for the 150-seat A320neo to the larger A321neo, which can seat more than 200 passengers - a segment in which Airbus has been strongly outselling US rival Boeing. Airbus plans to increase single-aisle output from 40 a month to 43 in the third quarter and 45 in the fourth.

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