Higher deliveries of military aircraft, including the A400M tactical airlifter, helped increase full-year revenues at Airbus Defence & Space by 11% to €10.2 billion ($10.9 billion) in 2022, although costs incurred by the loss of two satellites in December and delays to the Airane 6 launcher meant adjusted EBIT for the division fell by almost a half to €384 million.

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Source: Kamilpetran/Shutterstock

Airbus delivered two more A400Ms in 2022 than in the previous year

Announcing its group results on 16 February, Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said 2022 had been “disappointing” because of the impact of the same supply chain disruptions faced by the commercial business.

He said that the loss of access to Russian Soyuz launches – a result of sanctions on the Putin regime – meant “Europe’s fundamental access to space is challenged”.

Airbus delivered 10 A400Ms in 2022, two more than in 2021. They included the UK’s penultimate Atlas from its original order of 22.

The division’s order intake was the same as the previous year at €13.7 billion. This included 20 Eurofighters for the Spanish air force, as well as the launch of the four-nation Eurodrone unmanned air system programme, and the demonstrator Phase 1B of the Future Combat Air System, in which Airbus Defence & Space is partnered with Dassault Aviation to develop a next-generation fighter for France, Germany and Spain.

Airbus says upgrade efforts for the A400M “continue towards achieving the revised capability roadmap”. But during 2022, it incurred a €477 million charge on the programme after revising its estimate of the contract’s overall costs.

“Risks remain on the qualification of technical capabilities and associated costs, on aircraft operational reliability, on cost reductions, and on securing export orders on time as per the revised baseline,” it warns.

Airbus Defence & Space represents just under a fifth of the overall Airbus business, which reported revenues of €52.1 billion for the year.

Faury says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had “proven the need for a stronger Europe”. Making the point that maintaining an independent European defence capability was the greatest priority for the region’s governments, he adds: “There is no sustainability without security.”