Airbus faces a race to meet jet delivery target for 2016

Rebecca Smith
Airbus' cumulative deliveries included 30 A350 jets
Airbus' cumulative deliveries included 30 A350 jets (Source: Getty)

The clock is ticking on Airbus meeting its order target for the year.

It's just released its updated orders for 2016 and the race is on. Taking the month's bookings and cancellations into account, Airbus net orders for 2016 came to 395 aircraft through to 31 October. It sold 19 aircraft for the month, bringing new business to 585 jets, so it's still 85 short of its target for the year, with two months to go.

Last month, Airbus Group finance director Harald Wilhelm said the company expects to deliver more than 670 commercial jets (beating a restated target of 650).

Cumulative deliveries included 30 A350 jets, so it's now facing the task of more than 10 a month to reach its annual target of over 50.

Read more: Airbus to bring operations tighter under its wing

Three A380s were received by airlines during October: two for Emirates and one for Asiana Airlines. In July, the company announced it was to cut production of the super-jumbo, more than halving the rate at which it produced them. It plans to deliver just 12 of the aircraft a year from 2018, down from last year's level of 27 a year.

Now it hasn't been the easiest year for Airbus so far. In August, it was announced the UK Serious Fraud Office had opened a criminal investigation into allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption in the civil aviation business of Airbus. The allegations relate to irregularities concerning third party consultants. That's ongoing and the SFO has said it can't say how long the investigation will take.

And last month, Airbus reported its third quarter results, noting supplier headaches and a switch to newer models buffeting Airbus' profit, which fell 21 per cent.

Read more: Airbus profit nosedives 21 per cent

There have been difficulties in the supply chain for its A350 and A320neo jets. But the company still maintained its guidance for full-year earnings to match last year's level. It needed to supply 24 jets in the final three months of the year to achieve the goal of 50 aircraft.

Yesterday Arconic Inc. announced its first major supply deal: a $1bn contract with Airbus, to supply the group with aluminium sheet and plate. Much of the aluminium sold will go toward making Airbus' A320.

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