Airbus Deliveries Speed Up as Planemaker Plots Pandemic Exit

Airbus SE inched closer to a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic after increasing the number of jetliner deliveries to 50 last month.

The European planemaker accelerated production with five more planes handed over than in April, according to a statement that confirmed an earlier Bloomberg report.

Airbus is plotting a way out of the Covid-19 crisis even as a variant of the virus first discovered in India prompts fresh infection concerns. Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said last month he’s planning to lift production of the firm’s best-selling A320 single-aisle jets beyond 2019 levels within two years.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus reported seven orders and three cancellations in the figures released after markets closed Monday.

While rival Boeing Co. has outpaced Airbus by that measure this year, fresh problems with the 737 Max aircraft -- which returned to service last year after two fatal crashes -- mean it’s lagging behind on deliveries, the key generator of cash. The U.S. company will report its own figures later Tuesday.

Airbus shares traded 0.5% to 111.90 euros as of 10:16 a.m. in Paris, extending their gain this year to 25%.

Orders in May came from fast-growing Mexican carrier Volaris, which signed for two A320neos, and Deutsche Lufthansa AG with five A350-900 wide-bodies. The German carrier’s backlog for the model grew by only two aircraft, however, as it canceled other orders.

Airbus has delivered 220 aircraft so far this year versus 160 for the same period in 2020, underpinning the company’s optimism about an eventual recovery in demand.

There are some signs of a cautious reopening of global travel, with vaccine campaigns in Europe and the U.S. beginning to bear fruit and the Europe Union allowing quarantine-free travel within the bloc.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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