Airbus’s financial results for the first financial quarter (Q1) of 2022, ending 31 March, have indicated improved earnings and pandemic recovery, although tempered by geopolitical issues such as the Ukraine invasion.
Gross orders for Airbus commercial aircraft in the quarter increased substantially from Q1 2021’s figure of 39 aircraft, to 253, with net orders of 83 aircraft after cancellations (Q1 2021: -61 aircraft). The order backlog amounted to 7,023 commercial aircraft on 31 March 2022.
Based on the assumption there will be no further disruptions to the world economy, air traffic, or Airbus’s internal operations, the company’s is aiming to make 720 commercial aircraft deliveries in 2022.
Consolidated revenues increased 15% to €12.0 billion (Q1 2021: €10.5 billion), mainly reflecting the higher number of commercial aircraft deliveries and what Airbus calls ‘a favourable mix’. A total of 142 commercial aircraft were delivered in the first quarter (Q1 2021: 125 aircraft), comprising 11 A220s, 109 A320 Family, 6 A330s and 16 A350s.
The financial results reflect 140 commercial aircraft deliveries after the reduction of two aircraft previously recorded as sold in December 2021, for which a transfer was not possible due to international sanctions. Revenues generated by Airbus’ commercial aircraft activities increased 17%, mainly reflecting the higher delivery volumes and that favourable mix.
“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, CEO of Airbus. “Looking beyond 2022, we see continuing strong growth in commercial aircraft demand, driven by the A320 Family. As a result we are now working with our industry partners to increase A320 Family production rates further to 75 aircraft a month in 2025. This ramp-up will benefit the aerospace industry’s global value chain.”
In the shorter term, commercial aircraft production for the A320 Family is progressing towards a monthly rate of 65 aircraft by summer 2023. Following an analysis of global customer demand as well as an assessment of the industrial ecosystem’s readiness, Airbus is now working with its suppliers and partners to enable that monthly production rate of 75 in 2025. This production increase will benefit the entire global industrial value chain, including the aircraft interiors and IFEC sectors. Airbus will meet the higher production rates by increasing capacity at its existing industrial sites and growing its industrial footprint in Mobile, USA, while investing to ensure that all commercial aircraft assembly sites are A321-capable.
A major project for the company, the A321XLR, is also a major part of Airbus’s current activity. The company is continuing to work towards a first flight of the aircraft by the end of Q2 2022. While entry-into-service for the A321XLR was initially planned for the end of 2023, it is now expected to take place in early 2024, in order to meet certification requirements.