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Airbus says tougher to meet jet delivery goal after snags

Key Points
  • European planemaker Airbus maintained its key target for jet deliveries on Wednesday, but warned reaching it would be a "greater stretch" after a sequence of industrial problems.
  • The cautious tone on deliveries, which drive revenues and profits, came despite higher than expected third-quarter core earnings at Europe's largest aerospace group.
  • The maker of jetliners, satellites and helicopters said it had made an adjusted operating profit of 1.576 billion euros in the quarter on revenues of 15.451 billion.
An Airbus A220-300 aircraft, a new brand for the CSeries passenger jet acquired from Canada's Bombardier, flies during its unveiling in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, July 10, 2018.
Regis Duvignau | Reuters

European planemaker Airbus maintained its key target for jet deliveries on Wednesday, but warned reaching it would be a "greater stretch" after a sequence of industrial problems.

The cautious tone on deliveries, which drive revenues and profits, came despite higher than expected third-quarter core earnings at Europe's largest aerospace group.

The maker of jetliners, satellites and helicopters said it had made an adjusted operating profit of 1.576 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in the quarter on revenues of 15.451 billion.

Analysts on average expected third-quarter adjusted operating profit of 1.441 billion euros on sales of 15.316 billion, according to a Reuters poll.

Airbus has been struggling with fresh industrial problems as production of its fast-selling A321neo passenger jet hit a snag in Hamburg, Germany, even as bottlenecks eased at some engine makers.

The new problems, which coincide with a queue of aircraft still waiting to be fitted with engines and delivered in the aftermath of the engine delays, were first reported by Reuters.

"A lot remains to be done before the end of the year to fulfil commitments," Airbus said, while sticking to its target of around 800 commercial deliveries in 2018.

As before, the target excludes deliveries of the recently acquired Bombardier CSeries jet, now renamed A220.

Boeing too has been suffering some industrial problems, but the world's largest planemaker last week reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter profit.

The commercial aerospace sector is in the eighth year of an extended upcycle but there are some concerns about airline profitability that usually drives jet orders, speakers at the Airline Economics conference in Hong Kong said this week.

Even so, planemakers and their suppliers are pushing production to record levels based on eight years' worth of new plane orders, and their attention is focused on ironing out flaws in an already stretched global supply chain.

Airbus said deliveries were its first priority.