Airbus cuts A330 output, first-quarter profit capped by engine delays

People celebrate near an Airbus A330neo aircraft after its maiden flight event in Colomiers near Toulouse, France on October 19, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Airbus cuts A330 output, first-quarter profit capped by engine delays

  • Europe’s largest aerospace group said it was reducing deliveries of the 250-300-seater A330 aircraft to around 50 in 2019
  • Analysts were on average expecting a €23.9 million operating loss on revenues of €10.209 billion

PARIS: Airbus bowed to weak demand for its A330 passenger jet on Friday, announcing a cut in production for 2019 after a series of bruising defeats to Boeing in contests for wide-body jets.
Europe’s largest aerospace group said it was reducing deliveries of the 250-300-seater to around 50 aircraft in 2019, without giving a figure for its previous plans.
Airbus delivered 67 of the jets in 2017, implying a cut of as much as 25 percent in output based on steady volumes this year — though some analysts see production starting to dip as early as this year as orders dry up.
The production came as Airbus posted a slender — though better than expected — core profit in the first quarter after delays in engine deliveries for its smaller A320neo.
Together the A320 and A330 families, which feature updated versions of its most successful airframes, generate most of the cash and income needed to support future developments and other activities within the maker of airplanes, rockets and fighters.
While the narrowbody A320neo remains a best-seller, with Airbus recently unable to produce the jets fast enough due to engine supply problems, the upgraded A330neo has been losing ground to the newer Boeing 787 at carriers like American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
“We knew (the first quarter) was going to be grisly – and it is,” said Jefferies analyst Sandy Morris in a note.
“The A330 going down to 50 (a year) is overtly bad news, but we have suspected for some time the A330’s slow sales could mean A350 production moves up at some point,” he added.
Airbus reported an adjusted quarterly operating profit of €14 million, compared with a restated year-earlier loss of 19 million. Revenues fell 12 percent to €10.119 billion. Airbus reaffirmed financial forecasts, however.
Analysts were on average expecting a €23.9 million operating loss on revenues of €10.209 billion, according to a Reuters poll.
Airbus has said it expects deliveries to be once again heavily weighted toward the latter part of the year, as industrial problems felt by engine makers Pratt & Whitney and to a lesser extent CFM International start to ease.
The earnings statement did not refer to plans to increase A320neo output further than planned in 2019, to 63 aircraft a month from a previous target of 60, as disclosed earlier this week.
The head of French engine maker Safran, a partner in CFM alongside General Electric, expressed caution over the plans on Wednesday, saying it was too early to commit to higher output as suppliers work through what is already a record production ramp-up to meet air travel demand.


Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

Updated 26 June 2019
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Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

  • The MF has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy
  • ‘If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained’

MANAMA: IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Wednesday that major economic growth was possible in the Palestinian territories if all sides showed urgency, as she took part in a US-led conference boycotted by the Palestinian leadership.
The International Monetary Fund has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy, with tax revenue blocked in a dispute with Israel which has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade.
“If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained,” said Lagarde.
The IMF chief is attending a conference in Bahrain to discuss the economic aspects of a United States plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, which has already been rejected by the Palestinians as it fails to address key political issues.
Lagarde said for the US plan to work “it will require all the goodwill in the world on the part of all parties — private sector, public sector, international organizations and the parties on the ground and their neighbors.”
Citing examples of post-conflict countries, Lagarde said that private investors needed progress in several sectors including strengthening the central bank, better managing public finance and mobilizing domestic revenue.
“If anti-corruption is really one of the imperatives of the authorities — as it was in Rwanda, for instance — then things can really take off,” she said.
The plan presented by White House adviser Jared Kushner calls for $50 billion of investment in the Palestinian territories and its neighbors within a decade.
The proposals for infrastructure, tourism, education and more aim to create one million Palestinian jobs.
Gross domestic product in the Gaza Strip declined by eight percent last year, while there was only minor growth in the West Bank.
Kushner, opening the conference on Tuesday, called the plan the “Opportunity of the Century” — and said the Palestinians needed to accept it before a deal can be reached on political solutions.
The Palestinian Authority has rejected the conference, saying that the US and Israel are trying to dangle money to impose their ideas on a political settlement.
Washington says it will unveil the political aspects of its peace deal at a later date, most likely after Israel’s September election.