Airbus Slides as Delivery Slowdown Endangers Year-End Goal
(Bloomberg) -- Airbus SE slid as much as 2.3% after the European planemaker reported just one order and 40 deliveries in September, making it more of a challenge to meet year-end targets.
The sale of a single A319neo to an unidentified buyer interrupts momentum established in August, when Airbus posted its best month for sales since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The September deliveries -- flat with the prior month, when many plant workers went on vacation -- leave Airbus with 176 left to reach its 2021 target of 600 planes. While handovers typically fluctuate from month to month, and a year-end push is not unusual, warning signs are flashing over output.
Sales chief Christian Scherer told the South China Morning Post last week that Asia’s slower recovery from depressed flying levels is a source of concern and is causing contracts to shift.
Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said in an Oct. 3 interview with Bloomberg that the manufacturer is facing “unprecedented” labor and materials strains as supply links remain under pressure.
He stood by plans to boost output, and an Airbus spokesman reiterated Tuesday the shortages are not likely to affect the year-end goal of 600 jets.
The delivery of only 30 of Airbus’s workhorse A320 models during September is “portending a weaker winter as the global airline recovery slows in 4Q and 1Q,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst George Ferguson wrote in a research note. Airlines “have turned cautious after business demand returned more slowly than had been expected.”
Airbus shares were down 1.2% at 11:46 a.m. in Paris. They have risen 25% this year.
The Toulouse, France-based company made deliveries to customers in Asia including A320neos to India’s Indigo and to China Eastern Airlines Corp. There were no cancellations in September, according to the order and deliveries figures published Monday.
A deal to sell 28 jets to Italy’s new state-backed airline Italia Trasporto Aereo SpA, announced at the end of last month, wasn’t included in the sales statistics because it’s an outline agreement that hasn’t been finalized.
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