Airbus profits rise, will boost aircraft production

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Airbus profits rise, will boost aircraft production

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Airbus says it is going to build more planes to meet record demand for fuel-efficient airliners.

It also unveiled higher profit for last year, but its forecasts for this year were cautious with revenue predicted to be flat and operating profit growth “moderate”.

“We’re not planning new adventures in 2014, the focus is on execution, execution, execution,” Chief Executive Tom Enders told reporters at a news conference.

Higher costs for its newest widebody jet, the A350, pulled down earnings by 434 million euros last yesar.

Having changed its name from EADS as part of a restructuring, Airbus Group reported turnover of 59.2 billion euros, up five percent.

Net profit was 1.46 billion, a 22 percent rise from the previous year’s 1.2 billion.

Europe’s largest aerospace group beat arch-rival Boeing last year for orders – with 1,619 – but was second in terms of jets delivered, and said deliveries this year will be in line with 2013.

The restructuring of its defence and space activities mean a further financial hit of 292 million euros.

And with its traditional defence customers in Europe reducing spending, Airbus said it is looking more at export opportunities.

Production hike

Airbus said it would raise output of its A320 family of small jets to 46 aircraft a month by the second quarter of 2016 from 42 now. Boeing’s rival jet – the 737 – aims to hit 47 a month by 2017.

The increase means Airbus will be producing an A320 family jet, worth around $100 million (72.9 million euros) at list prices, every seven working hours.

The ramp-up to 46 appeared at least partly to reflect already announced additions to capacity as a new assembly plant in the U.S. state of Alabama prepares to come on stream.

Airbus has said it plans to start delivering jets from Mobile, Alabama from 2016, rising eventually to four a month. Those plans had not previously been included in Airbus’s main production target.

“Mobile is the next place where we will ramp up and we will start producing aircraft there in 2015, first deliveries should happen in 2016. Everything is according to plan and we are training our first American colleagues in Hamburg,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders said.

His comments appeared to confirm that Airbus would not cut output in Europe to make way for the new US plant.