MOBILE, AL—Airbus reported that its profit in the first three months of 2022 more than tripled to $1.28 billion, helped by an increase in aircraft deliveries as airlines recover from the worst of the pandemic.
Airbus said it plans to increase production of its A320 family of planes, which compete with the Boeing 737, to 75 per month by 2025. To hit that rate, Airbus will build a second A320 assembly line at its plant in Mobile.
The ramp-up in A320 production builds on a current Airbus goal to build 65 A320s a month by the middle of 2023. The company hopes to take advantage of strong demand for short- and medium-range planes. (Boeing is also trying to churn out more 737 Max jets, but is producing only about 30 a month.)
“The market for single-aisle jets is extremely strong, and the A321neo is doing particularly well,” says Richard Aboulafia, an analyst for the consultant AeroDynamic Advisory.
Airbus hopes to gain 70 percent of the short- and medium-range market. The market for “narrow-body” planes like the A320 and 737 is much stronger than demand for bigger, two-aisle “wide-body” planes, which are mostly for international flights, a segment of the travel market that has been slower to recover.
Airbus warned, however, that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting ban on Russian imports has increased the company’s exposure to supply-chain disruptions. Before the sanctions, the company used titanium from Russia in aircraft parts.
In the first quarter, Airbus delivered 142 airline planes, up from 125 a year ago. Revenue rose 15 percent from a year earlier, to $12.6 billion.