Airbus has reported its First Quarter (Q1) 2019 financial results, suggesting the commercial aircraft environment is “robust”.

“The first quarter underlying financials mainly reflect our commercial aircraft ramp-up and delivery phasing,” commented Airbus chief executive officer Guillaume Faury. “The commercial aircraft market remains robust and we continue to see good prospects in the helicopters and defence and space businesses. The new management team is in place and focused on delivering on our commitments.”

Gross commercial aircraft orders totalled 62 (down from Q1 2018’s total of 68 aircraft) and included 38 A350 XWBs. Airbus reported net commercial orders of -58 (compared to 45 aircraft in Q1 2018) after 120 cancellations that mainly reflect the winding down of the A380 programme and the commercial agreement with Etihad.

The commercial aircraft backlog stood at 7,357 aircraft as of 31 March 2019.

Airbus saw a total of 162 commercial aircraft delivered (compared to 121 aircraft in Q1 2018), comprising eight A220s, 126 A320 Family, five A330s, 22 A350s and one A380.

A total of 96 A320neo Family aircraft were delivered in the quarter while the ramp-up of the Airbus Cabin Flex version of the A321 continued in Q1 but “remains challenging”. Airbus said it is “working to improve execution in its internal industrial systems and monitoring engine performance.”

The overall A320 Family programme is on track to reach 60 aircraft per month by mid-2019 and preparing for rate 63 in 2021. While on the A330 programme, five aircraft were delivered in the first quarter including three neos. A330neo deliveries continue to ramp-up and Airbus said it is working closely with its engine partner and suppliers to deliver in line with customer commitments. The flight test campaign of the A330-800 variant is also progressing.

Airbus reported consolidated revenues for the quarter increased to €12.5 billion (Q1 2018: €10.1 billion) mainly reflecting the higher commercial aircraft deliveries as the production ramp-up continued. Consolidated EBIT Adjusted increased to €549 million (Q1 2018: €14 million).

Meanwhile, Airbus’ EBIT Adjusted improved to €536 million (Q1 2018: € -41 million), mainly reflecting the A320neo ramp-up and premium as well as further progress on the A350 financial performance.

Consolidated self-financed R&D expenses totalled €654 million (Q1 2018: €616 million). Consolidated EBIT (reported) amounted to €181 million (Q1 2018: €199 million), including Adjustments totalling a net €-368 million, these included costs related to the A380 programme which is set to be wound down.

Looking forwards

Airbus has maintained its guidance for 2019, and expects world economy and air traffic to grow in line with independent forecasts, which assume no major disruptions. The company is targeting 880 to 890 commercial aircraft deliveries in 2019.

On that basis, Airbus said it expects to deliver an increase in EBIT Adjusted of approximately +15% compared to 2018 and FCF before M&A and Customer Financing of approximately €4 billion.

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