Airbus handed over just 36 aircraft in October, confirming the airframer’s expectation of a continuing stall in the recovery of its delivery rates.

Although monthly deliveries had picked up this year – exceeding 70 aircraft in March and again in June – they have not climbed above 40 aircraft since July.

It delivered 32 A320-family jets in October, along with an A380, an A350 and two A220s, but the total of 36 is the lowest monthly figure since February.


Source: Airbus

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, during a third quarter briefing, had indicated that some aircraft were having to undergo further work after assembly, owing to external supply-chain snags, while others which were ready for delivery had yet to be taken by their customers.

The airframer recorded a €410 million fall in commercial aircraft inventory over the first nine months of the year, mainly reflecting A380 deliveries and the wind-down of that programme.

Airbus deliv Jan-Oct 2021-c-Airbus backlog data

Source: Airbus backlog data

Airbus’s delivery rate has slipped in recent months

Faury says the inventory build-up last year resulted from a “mismatch” as demand levels fell, subsequently forcing Airbus to cut its production rates to curb a rising number of parked, undelivered aircraft.

Over the first nine months of the year the airframer delivered 341 A320-family aircraft, consistent with a monthly production rate of 40 and accounting for the August holiday period – although Airbus needs deliveries to exceed production in order to bring the parked inventory down.

Faury insists the undelivered backlog is “going down progressively”.

But he is aware that the dip in deliveries threatens an increase in inventory – the influence having transitioned “from demand to supply”.

Airbus has, however, maintained its full-year delivery estimate of 600 aircraft. With deliveries having reached 460 at the end of October, the airframer needs to restore the monthly average to 70 to achieve the target.

Airbus cumulative Jan-Oct 2021-c-Airbus backlog data

Source: Airbus backlog data

Airbus’s cumulative deliveries for 2021 with the end-of-year target of 600 shown in grey