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12 January 2017 · 2 min read

Airbus does it again

Record breaking 2016 for Airbus as it exceeds delivery target

At yesterday’s annual New Year press conference, Fabrice Bregier (Airbus Commercial CEO) triumphantly announced that Airbus delivered 688 aircraft last year, exceeding its target of 670. 

Regular readers of this blog will know that throughout 2016 I debated with myself whether or not Airbus would be able to make its delivery targets, consistently concluding that I was not predisposed to bet against Airbus under its current management team. My faith has proved correct although the company took it right to the wire.

Airbus always has a Q4 weighted delivery schedule. Since 2008 it has shipped 10-12% of its total annual deliveries in December. However in December 2016 it shipped 16% (111 aircraft). In my piece ‘Airbus is cutting it fine’ I noted there were three likely reasons why Airbus left itself so much to do in December:

1. Customers dragging their heels over accepting aircraft due to issues with performance, finish quality or customer financing.
2. The supply chain struggling to keep pace with the ramp up.
3. Airbus employing an element of bravado in order to keep the industry and market guessing.

Yesterday, Mr Bregier attributed most of this extreme back ended delivery profile to cabin delays on the A350 and problems with engine maturity on the A320 neo. He was also quick to point out the he would like the 2017 delivery profile to be much smoother over the year so perhaps he wasn’t trying to make a show of bravado after all. Whether or not point one was an issue will only become apparent at Airbus’ FY16 results on 22 February when we will be able see whether 2016’s aircraft have been shipped at a favourable price.

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