Airbus will deliver up to 620 commercial jets this year, under the latest outlook from parent EADS, while the airframer has already exceeded a revised net order forecast of 1,200 aircraft.
But EADS revenues will experience “moderate” growth owing to lower A380 deliveries – expected to be around 25 this year – the company says in its third-quarter results.
Airbus took net orders for 1,062 aircraft over the first nine months of 2013, and higher deliveries totalling 445 jets meant commercial revenues rose by 9.5% to €27.5 billion ($36.3 billion).
Earnings in the commercial Airbus division soared by 85% to €1.5 billion, after one-off effects, benefiting from “favourable volume and some improved pricing”, says EADS.
For the full year EADS expects one-off effects to be limited to potential charges on the A350 programme, an €85 million impact from the A380 wing-rib bracket fix, and items such as foreign exchange.
EADS says net orders for Airbus will exceed 1,200 this year, although Airbus had already secured 1,215 net orders by 31 October.
Airbus’s A350 remains “challenging” but “on track” for entry into service in the second half of 2014, states EADS, although preparations for industrial ramp-up and ensuring a mature status at service entry are generating higher costs.
The A380 has been slow to sell this year and EADS says campaigns for the type “remain a priority”.
“We achieved a good improvement in revenues and profitability over the first nine months thanks largely to our civil aircraft business,” says EADS chief Tom Enders.
“However, we have significant challenges ahead of us, particularly with respect to cash generation and to the A350 programme, which has entered the next critical phase.”
The company expects its free cash flow for the year will be negative, around €1.5 billion outwards, as a result of investment into production ramp-up and development programmes.
EADS values the Airbus commercial backlog at €583 billion, based on just under 5,300 jets.