Airbus has reported a “solid” first quarter of financial results and is now set on ramping up its popular A320 family production after a growing demand.
The company is seeking to slowly increase its production rates of A320 jets to eventually reach 75 every month in 2025.
In its earnings release on Wednesday, the Toulouse-based planemaker reported €1.3 billion in revenue after taxes, a rise from the €0.7 billion reported in the first quarter of 2021.
“These Q1 results reflect a solid performance across our commercial aircraft, helicopter and defence businesses. Our 2022 guidance is unchanged, even though the risk profile for the rest of the year has become more challenging due to the complex geopolitical and economic environment,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus chief executive officer.
“Looking beyond 2022, we see continuing strong growth in commercial aircraft demand driven by the A320 Family.”
Faury added that the “ramp-up will benefit the aerospace industry’s global value chain”.
Starting with the production of 65 monthly narrowbody jets by summer 2023, Airbus will increase its capacity at existing sites, and is set on planting a new assembly line in the US to meet the manufacturing goal.
This will also position the company closer to its US customers.
The rise of production ambitions comes as a positive sign, after a lengthy two years of decreasing monthly rates due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In January 2021, the company was producing only 40 A320 jets a month, and in recent days only increased that number by 10.
Airbus’ deliveries are also on the steady rise, after seeing 142 commercial jets land in the hands of multiple customers in the first quarter, up from 125 the same time last year.
The deliveries included 11 A220s, 109 A320 Family, 6 A330s and 16 A350s, according to the planemaker.
Meanwhile, the company’s upcoming A321XLR is now scheduled to complete a first flight by the end of the second quarter this year, with its entry into service expected to take place in early 2024 to meet certification requirements.
This is delayed from the originally planned entry into service by the end of 2023 due to the heat it is receiving from regulators over increased fire risk concerns with an extra fuel tank, according to Bloomberg. However, improvements will likely add weight which will slow down its range.
But Faury said no material changes will be shared right now, and that Airbus is currently modifying its design.
The Airbus A321XLR is set to be the longest-range single-aisle jet, thanks to its increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) capacity, which allows it to carry an additional fuel tank in its fuselage, under the passenger cabin.
The increased MTOW and additional fuel tank mean that the aircraft can now carry an additional 12,900 litres of fuel, up to 40,000 litres in total, which leads to its increased range of up to 4,700 nautical miles.
Airbus hopes to deliver 720 commercial aircraft by the end of the year – up from the 611 last year – and expects to reach €5.5 billion in revenue after taxes.