Airbus Targets 530 Jet Handovers This Year in Second-Half Push

Airbus SE is on track to deliver about 530 aircraft this year, according to a person familiar with the matter, after a second-half push to clear jet backlogs eased some of the impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

The European planemaker will show good progress toward meeting the internal target when it reports about 64 deliveries for November later on Monday, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named discussing undisclosed figures. Handovers stood at 413 for the first 10 months.

The internal 2020 goal represents a drop of almost 40% from 2019’s record pace, though one that could have been worse without a rebound in recent months. Airbus pulled its annual forecast for 880 deliveries in March, as the coronavirus began to have a major impact on travel and airline revenue.

There remains a significant amount of uncertainty in deliveries, said Stefan Schaffrath, an Airbus spokesman, who declined to comment on specific numbers or targets.

Airbus and U.S. rivalBoeing Co. have seen demand plummet this year, with renewed outbreaks sinking hopes for a quick return to health for airline customers. With order activity mostly silenced — an exception beingRyanair Holdings Plc’s purchase last week of100 Boeing 737 Max jets — the planemakers have been focused on getting wounded carriers and leasing firms to accept aircraft due this year.

Airbus cut production rates across its aircraft programs by around 40% back in April and has been working since to synchronize production and deliveries. The company handed over 72 planes in October.

Reuters reported earlier that November deliveries topped 60 planes and the company may hand over as many as 550 this year.

Boeing, which is just now emerging from a 20-month grounding of its best-selling 737 Max, had delivered 111 aircraft through October. It said last week it would cutproduction rates on its 787 Dreamliner wide-body next year.

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