Airbus Emerges Profitable after Covid Hangover

 - October 29, 2021, 8:52 AM

For Airbus, what a difference a year made. 

The European aerospace and defense conglomerate recorded a Q3 profit of $472 million—quite a reversal from a loss of $826 million in the Covid-ravaged year-ago period, although Q3 revenues declined to $12.27 billion, a 6 percent drop from Q3 2020. Net income for the first nine months of 2021 was $3.05 billion compared with a net loss of $3.114 billion in the year-ago period; and for the first nine months of 2021, consolidated revenues increased to $41.13 billion, compared with $35.3 billion in 2020. 

Through Q3 2021, Airbus delivered 424 commercial aircraft, the vast majority of them A320 family narrow-body jetliners, compared with 341 for the first nine months of 2020. Wide-body deliveries through Q3 totaled 49: 11 A330s, 36 A350s, and two A380s. But new orders were down substantially—dropping to 270 from 370—during the first three quarters of the year, while cancellations in the first nine months almost doubled, to 137 from 70 in the 2020 period. Total net deliveries for Q3 were 127 aircraft, and Airbus said it remained on target to deliver 600 aircraft for the year. 

“The nine-month results reflect strong performance across the company as well as our efforts on cost containment and competitiveness," said Airbus chief executive officer Guillaume Faury. "As the global recovery continues, we are closely monitoring potential risks to our industry. We are focused on securing the A320 Family ramp up and striving to ensure the right industrial and supply-chain capabilities are in place.” That cost containment included the elimination of almost 6,000 jobs. 

Airbus Helicopters was a decidedly bright spot in both Q3 and nine-month 2021 performance. During the latter period, the company booked 185 net orders, as opposed to 143 for the first nine months of 2020. Revenue jumped 20 percent for Q3 to $1.8 billion compared with $1.51 billion in the year-ago period, while earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose a full 50 percent, from $100 million to $150.1 million 

Meanwhile, Airbus Defense and Space division orders for the first nine months increased to $11.8 billion from $9.58 billion in the year-ago period. New orders included those for 56 C295 turboprop aircraft for India, two A400Ms transports for Kazakhstan, and support and spares contract renewals for the German and Spanish Eurofighter fleets.