© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Airbus is pictured on a flag at the entrance of the Airbus facility in Bouguenais near Nantes, France, November 14, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
By Tim Hepher
PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus is facing an increasingly tight end-year scramble to reach 2022 delivery goals, industry sources and preliminary data suggested on Monday, but analysts said investors would ignore a narrow miss as attention turns to 2023.
Airbus has told investors it plans to deliver “around 700” commercial aircraft in 2022.
That figure is increasingly under pressure, barring what would be a record and essentially glitch-free performance in the busy month of December, industry sources said on Monday.
“It is difficult to see them getting 700 (full-year) deliveries,” a senior supply chain source told Reuters, adding that aircraft were on average running four months late.
Analysts note Airbus has hit tough goals before.
According to latest available data from aircraft analyst Cirium, Airbus has delivered 536 aircraft so far this year, implying 39 to 41 deliveries so far in November.
Allowing for a lag effect of several days in the reporting of deliveries, that could be around a dozen higher with more to come in the final days of the month, sources said.
Even so, November deliveries are likely to some in closer to 60 than 70, one analyst said, compared with what suppliers described as an industrial planning goal closer to 80.
An Airbus spokesperson declined to comment on deliveries ahead of a monthly status report on Dec 8.
Airbus shares fell more than 5% on Monday in their biggest drop since early March.
Between January and October, Airbus delivered 497 planes or a net total of 495 after adjusting for the cancellation of two planes stranded by Western sanctions against Russia.
“The market would most likely accept a narrow miss for 2022, down to about 690 deliveries, but the larger story is what this means for guidance on deliveries for 2023,” said Sash Tusa, aerospace analyst at UK-based Agency Partners.
The second analyst, who asked not to be identified, said: “If it misses by 10 airplanes nobody will really react but if it is 20, then it shows things are not where they need to be.”
Two industry sources said some lessors and other buyers were under mounting pressure to take planes towards the end of December – though not before, as Airbus copes with multiple cross-currents involving engines, supply chains and labour.
That could intensify the traditional crunch which often sees some planes delivered in the closing hours of the year.
With 2022 ending on an uncertain note, Reuters reported on Friday that Airbus was already preparing the ground for further delivery delays for medium-haul single-aisle jets in 2023.
Jefferies analyst Chloe Lemarie cautioned it was challenging to assess whether this meant additional delays on top of what Airbus has communicated, but said delays could help engine maker Safran (EPA:) due to additional maintenance on older models.
Investors are awaiting guidance from Airbus on how many aircraft it plans to deliver in 2023. Analysts on average expect 820 deliveries next year, Lemarie wrote, citing consensus data.