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5,000 order backlog for Airbus, but profit imperative looms

written by WOFA | July 5, 2013

BA's first A380 leaves Toulouse. The airline was one of two customers to receive A380s in June. (Airbus)

Buoyed by its announcement success at the recent Paris airshow, Airbus now has more than 5,000 aircraft yet to be delivered, its order backlog the first time an aircraft manufacturer has attained a backlog of such magnitude.

Airbus’s 241 orders booked during June increased its overall backlog to 5,109 aircraft, representing more than seven years of sustained production. This performance also brought total Airbus orders over the 13,000 aircraft mark, of which more than 9,600 are for current and future-model A320s. Taking cancellations into account, Airbus’s total net orders logged during the first six months of 2013 reached 722.

However, in a recent media interview, Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier said the manufacturer’s over-riding priority under his new strategy is to improve profitability, meaning the deep discounting that typically accompanies volume orders such as those announced at Paris will become far tighter. Brégier said emphatically he would not sell aircraft at any cost and that although the 5,000 backlog milestone was commendable, maintaining quality production at optimum profit was the firm priority.

The CEO’s comments have been echoed by parent company EADS CEO Tom Enders, who has publicly reinforced the profit imperative for Airbus.

Enders and Brégier both are keen to ensure the backlog remains manageable, the Airbus CEO indicating that 5,000 would be close to a comfortable level.

Airbus delivered 48 aircraft during June, comprising 38 A320s, eight A330s and two A380s – bringing the total delivered so far in 2013 to 295 for 73 customers.


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