DALLAS – March 2022 has been a busy month at Airbus, with new aircraft orders, cancellations, and an impressive number of deliveries. Here are the newsworthy insights we have tracked down.
First, a look at the overall numbers. Figures provided by Airbus reported a total of 63 aircraft delivered for the month of March, distributed as follows: 2 A220-100; 3 A220-300; 22 A320neo; 27 A321neo; 1 A330-200; 2 A330-900; 4 A350-900; 2 A350-1000. The latest handover took the total number of deliveries for Q1 2022 to 142 (140 if we exclude 2 A350-900 for Aeroflot (SU) that were canceled due to sanctions on Russia).
The firm also reported 76 cancellations, 13 A321neo, and a whopping 63 A330-900. However, cancellations were outnumbered by orders, with commitments for 3 A321neo from Iberia (IB), another 41 A321neo from an undisclosed buyer, 59 A320neo, again, from an undisclosed buyer, and 1 ACJ320 from a private customer.
Thus, March totaled 28 net orders for the European manufacturer. The net number of aircraft orders from the beginning of the year stands at 83, a higher number than some analysts anticipated.
AirAsia X Cancellation and the Fate of the A330-900
AirAsia X (D7) played the biggest role in Airbus’ March cancellations, with all the A330-900 cancellations coming from the Malaysian carrier. D7 also canceled 10 A321neo. It follows a previously announced restructuring at the airline, moving from being the top customer for the A330-900 with 75 orders to maintaining a commitment for only 15 of the model.
Airbus has slowed A330-900 production to just two per month to account for D7 financial struggles and the weak long-haul aircraft demand due to the effect of the pandemic. It seems that Airbus is focusing on the strong demand for the A321neo, taking the opportunity to clean up the A330neo orders’ backlog without major financial consequences.
The latest figures disclosed by the planemaker show that Airbus has 200 undelivered A330neos in its backlog, down from the 265 reported a month ago.
A Focus on Boosting Narrow-body Production
According to Bloomberg, Airbus is targeting at least 720 deliveries across all models in 2022, equating to 60 planes a month. The data disclosed by the European manufacturer shows production averaged 47 aircraft for the period January–March 2022.
Riding the momentum of strong orders for the narrow-body market, Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury told a German newspaper that the firm is sticking to its goal of raising benchmark narrow-body production to 65 a month by summer 2023, and reaffirmed financial goals despite the war in Ukraine.
It is also relevant to report that in legal testimony on Thursday, as part of the Airbus-Qatar Airways (QR) clash, the manufacturer minimized the benefits of the A321neo compared to Boeing’s 737-10, in contrast with its own marketing forecast and strategies. However, according to industry analysts, the move is nothing more than a courtroom tactic.
Featured image: Airbus-A220-100. Photo: Airbus