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No softening of market despite deferrals: Airbus

Airbus Group is not registering evidence of a downturn in the market, insisting that deferral data shows a net advancement of delivery schedules.

The airframer points out that it booked 250 gross orders for A320neo jets in the third quarter to 30 September.

It is shrugging off the cancellation of long-dormant orders for 82 aircraft – comprising 15 A330s and 67 A320s – for Kingfisher Airlines.

Chief financial officer Harald Wilhelm, speaking during a third-quarter briefing, said the Kingfisher cancellation was a “specific situation linked to the contract” and “does not reflect a softer market dynamic”.

He says the airframer had no production exposure to the order, and adds: “It was the right time to terminate.”

Reaching the book-to-bill target “hasn’t become easier” as a result, he admits, but cancellations remain a low proportion of the company’s backlog – which stood at nearly 6,750 aircraft at the end of September – and the market appetite remains “healthy”.

While Turkish Airlines has recently rejigged its delivery schedule, pushing back nearly 40 aircraft, Wilhelm is unconcerned by deferral activity across its customer base.

Airbus has not given specific figures for deferrals but Wilhelm states that “advances exceed postponements”.

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