PARIS (AFP) – European aircraft giant Airbus posted record profits in 2021 after two years of losses as it cruises past the pandemic-induced crisis in the travel industry, company results showed yesterday.
Net profit surged to EUR4.2 billion with deliveries of aircraft rising eight per cent to 611 planes, Airbus said in an earnings statement.
Signalling its optimistic outlook for the future, the company is targetting 720 commercial aircraft deliveries in 2022, an 18 per cent increase.
“2021 was a year of transition, where our attention shifted from navigating the pandemic towards recovery and growth,” Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said in the earning statement.
“Thanks to the resilience and efforts of our teams, customers and suppliers, we delivered remarkable full-year results,” he said.
The good results were due to the higher number of deliveries, good performance of the company’s helicopter, defence and space businesses, and efforts to contain costs, Faury said.
Deliveries are an important gauge of profitability in the aviation industry as clients pay most of their bills when they receive their orders.
In its guidance for 2022, Airbus said it “assumes no further disruptions to the world economy, air traffic, the Company’s internal operations, and its ability to deliver products and services”, Airbus said.
Airbus will return profits to shareholders with plans to offer a dividend payment of EUR1.50 per share. No dividends were paid in the past two years.
Its rival, US aerospace giant Boeing, has not fared as well as it fell into a third straight annual loss in 2021, with mounting costs connected to delayed delivers of its widebody 787 aircraft and costlier production processes.
The air travel industry collapsed in 2020 as the emergence of Covid-19 prompted countries to close borders. Airbus drastically reduced production and cut nearly 10,000 jobs when Covid spread around the world in 2020.
The group, which employs more than 126,000, plans to recruit 6,000 people this year.
The company has ramped up production again, making 45 single-aisle A320 planes per month late last year after the pace had fallen to 40 in 2020.
It plans to produce 65 A320 planes per month in 2023.