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Transition effects bring down Airbus's first-quarter profits

Airbus's first-quarter earnings from the commercial aircraft division were down by 31% to €281 million, as the airframer continues the transition to a new aircraft mix.

The company – whose commercial aircraft revenues increased by 13% to €9.8 billion – says higher ramp-up costs contributed to the decline in earnings, alongside the effects of transition pricing for its new aircraft models.

Airbus delivered 13 A350s over the quarter, compared with the previous figure of five, although it only handed over three A380s.

The A350 programme is making "good progress", says Airbus, and it remains "on track" to meet its monthly production target of 10 aircraft by the end of next year.

Outstanding work levels and supply-chain bottlenecks are "beginning to improve", it says.

But Airbus adds: "A key area of focus remains recurring cost convergence, which is challenging, as the ramp-up pace accelerates."

Airbus increased A320 deliveries by four to 107. But nearly a quarter of these were re-engined A320neos, which had only made up 5% of last year's first-quarter single-aisle deliveries.

It acknowledges "a number of in-service issues" with the A320neo – particularly with the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered version – and says these "need to be resolved".

"The ramp-up will again be back-loaded this year to reflect the necessary time for the implementation of product improvements," says the airframer.

Airbus puts its delivery forecast at 700 aircraft, despite its chief financial officer having previously indicated that it might exceed 720.

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