Airbus starts the new decade with a growing order volume and flexibility in its production system
Airbus is entering 2010 with the tools to build its future in challenging times, including a strong order backlog representing some six years of full production, and the flexibility to manage its delivery slots in adapting to customers' needs.
This assessment was provided by Airbus executives at a joint New Year's press conference in Seville, Spain today with parent company EADS, during which prospects for 2010 were detailed and the 2009 results were reviewed.
Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders said planned highlights in 2010 include the start-up of deliveries for the new A330-200F Freighter, the handover of at least 20 A380s to international operators, continued development of the all-new A350 XWB for a planned first flight in 2012, and further investments in the A320 Family.
These elements will build on the results of 2009, during which Airbus delivered an all-time company record of 498 aircraft and reached its targeted order intake by booking 310 gross orders (271 net when cancellations are taken into account).
The 2009 deliveries were composed of 402 A320 Family jetliners, 86 A330/340s and 10 A380s. This represents a record yearly delivery rate for the A320 Family, along with an all-time high in annual deliveries for A330s. Additionally, the company reached a record for overall monthly deliveries in December - when a total of 61 aircraft were provided to Airbus customers.
As part of its 2009 industrial activity, Airbus initiated A320 Family deliveries from the new final assembly line in Tianjin, China, which provided a total of 11 jetliners from the initial handover of an A320 in June through the final single-aisle aircraft delivered at year-end. Tianjin's output is expected to reach a rate of two aircraft per month by the end of 2010, according to Tom Williams, the Airbus Executive Vice President - Programmes.
The 310 total gross new orders logged in 2009 by Airbus were for 228 A320 Family jetliners, 51 aircraft from the A330/A340 Family, and 27 A350 XWBs (which pushed total orders for this all-new extra widebody aircraft beyond the 500 milestone), along with four additional A380s.
With this new business, Airbus' order backlog was 3,488 aircraft at the end of 2009, valued at U.S. $437.1
Airbus demonstrated the flexibility of its production system by making more than 600 aircraft delivery slot movements - both forward and back - during the past 18 months in response to the strengths and weaknesses of its worldwide customer base. "With our order backlog and the flexibility of Airbus, we can cope with the global crisis - as we have done before, if we are careful," concluded John Leahy, the Chief Operating Officer - Customers.
Another highlight of 2009 was the integration of EADS' military transport/airlift activity into the Airbus company structure. During the year, the Airbus Military business unit signed orders for 19 of its tactical airlifters (one C-212, two CN-235s and 16 C-295s), along with a contract to convert three additional A330s into the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport configuration for Saudi Arabia. A total of 16 aircraft were delivered from the Airbus Military tactical transport family in 2009, consisting of five CN-235s and 11 C-295s.
For additional information on Airbus' 2009 results and the outlook for 2010: