Airbus has lowered its delivery target for calendar 2019 amid ongoing work to “improve the industrial flow” of its A320 production line.
The company said at its third quarter results presentation on Wednesday (European time) it expected to deliver 860 aircraft in 2019.
While the new guidance was below the previous forecast of between 880 and 890 commercial aircraft deliveries outlined at the half year results in August, it was still above the 800 commercial aircraft Airbus delivered in calendar 2018.
“We are focused on the A320neo ramp-up and improving the industrial flow while managing the higher level of complexity on the A321 ACF in particular,” Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said in a statement.
“Our nine-month delivery numbers and the updated delivery outlook for the year reflect the underlying actions to secure a more efficient delivery flow in the next years as we progress to rate 63 per month for the A320 Family in 2021.
“We are focused on meeting our customer commitments and preparing the production system for the future.”
The third quarter results said the ramp up in production of the Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) version of the A321, which allows airlines to vary the doors and emergency exits based on the desired number of seats, remained challenging.
The results presentation said efforts would continue throughout 2020 to improve the “industrial maturity” of the program.
“Airbus also continues to study different options to increase the share of the A321 in current A320 Family production capacity,” the company said.
Meanwhile, it said the A350 program was on track to reach the breakeven target for the year.
In terms of the financial results, the company reported net income, or net profit, of EUR2.186 billion for the nine months to September 30 2019, up 50 per cent from EUR1.453 billion in the prior corresponding period.
Meanwhile, earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 28 per cent to EUR3.431 billion. And revenues improved 14 per cent to EUR46.168 billion.
The lift in EBIT was achieved as the airframer delivered 571 aircraft in the nine months to September 30 2019, 68 more than the prior corresponding period.
The deliveries comprised 33 A220 family aircraft, 422 A320 family aircraft, 33 A330 family aircraft, 77 A350 family aircraft and five A380s.
The commercial aircraft business, which is the biggest of the three business units alongside Helicopters and Defence and Space, reported EBIT of EUR3.405 billion for the nine months to September 30, a 52 per cent improvement from EUR2.238 billion in the prior corresponding period.