Cape Town - Airbus announced on Wednesday that its commercial aircraft deliveries in 2016 were up for the 14th year in a row, reaching a new company record of 688 aircraft delivered to 82 customers.
At its annual Airbus New Year’s media briefing in Toulouse the company reviewed its commercial activity for the previous 12 months.
At the briefing Fabrice Brégier, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and chief operating officer of Airbus, said he foresees the company will continue to grow for the next years to come. All in all, Airbus is very pleased with 2016, especially in the light of airline traffic expected to double every 15 years.
Deliveries were more than 8% higher than the previous record of 635 set in 2015. These included 545 single-aisle A320 Family of which 68 were been A320neo, 66 A330s, 49 A350 XWBs and 28 A380s. Over 40% of single aisle deliveries were the larger A321 models.
Airbus achieved 731 net orders from 51 customers of which eight are new. These included 607 single aisle and 124 wide-body aircraft. At the end of 2016, Airbus’ overall backlog stood at 6 874 aircraft valued at $1.018bn at list prices.
Airbus has increased the average list prices of its aircraft by 1% across the product line, effective from January 1 2017. This price increase has been calculated according to Airbus’ standard escalation formula over the January 2016 to January 2017 period and takes into account the materials and commodities prices.
“We delivered on our objectives in a challenging environment, proving our ramp-up readiness for the future. I salute all our teams on this outstanding achievement,” said Brégier.
“Our strong operational performance, combined with a robust market eager to place orders and take deliveries of aircraft in all sizes are now an excellent springboard for our next steps: boosting deliveries, harnessing the advantages of digital and extending our service portfolio globally.”
Airbus sales chief John Leahy said at the briefing, which was live-streamed as well, that it is "essentially sold out at this point”.
“That doesn’t mean we can’t increase our production, and we will next year and the year after. We have to build what we already have orders for, not worry about getting new orders,” he said.
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Notable milestones highlighted for 2016 included the delivery of Airbus' 10 000th aircraft – an A350 XWB - and the successful first flight of the largest member of the programme: the A350-1000. Airbus also commenced deliveries of both engine variants of the A320neo single aisle aircraft.
Meanwhile, the Pratt & Whitney powered A321neo was certified and the first US-assembled aircraft, an A321, was delivered from Mobile, Alabama. Bregier said issues with A320neo engines supplied by Pratt & Whitney, have been addressed and deliveries should triple in 2017 from 2016’s 68.
According to Brégier, demand for the original A320-series plane remains
Other milestones included the entry into service of the first A330 regional and the start of construction of the China A330 completion and delivery centre, while the A330neo commenced assembly in the final assembly line.
The Airspace by Airbus cabin brand was launched as the new standard in passenger experience for the A330neo and A350 XWB programmes. Airbus also launched the Ifly A380 website enabling passengers to support differentiation and book flights on their A380 of choice.
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Deals on the cards
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Airbus has won an order for 35 A320-series jets from US leasing firm Aviation Capital Group, marking its first sale of 2017. The deal is valued at $3.8bn, based on list prices.
Iran Air aslo signed a contract for 100 Airbus jetliners worth about $19bn at list prices in January.
Airbus is close to securing a major narrow-body deal from Saudi Arabian carrier Flynas, according to people familiar with the plan, but Airbus declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.
At the media briefing it was said that, among Airbus’s unidentified buyers, one is a Middle Eastern customer that’s taking 90 narrow-bodies.
Bloomberg further cited Reuters as reporting that Airbus is also close to securing a deal for 42 narrow-body jets from the leasing unit of China’s Bank of Communications.
At the briefing it was said "an Asian airline" is purchasing 42 planes.
Other late deals apparently could include sign-off on a 72-plane transaction with India’s GoAir, according to Reuters.
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