Airbus delivered 58 jets in November, setting up a busy final month of 2021 as the company aims to ship 600 aircraft this year.
The tally leaves the planemaker 82 aircraft short of its annual target with just weeks to go. Bloomberg News reported last week that the company needed to accelerate jetliner deliveries in December to meet its goal.
The end of 2021 presents specific challenges for Airbus beyond the usual year-end push, with the company facing supply-chain issues and customer uncertainty following the emergence of the omicron coronavirus variant.
Still, November’s performance made the task easier. The manufacturer handed over 89 planes last December even as the industry reeled from a winter flare-up of COVID-19 cases. Pre-pandemic tallies were comfortably higher — more than 125 jets in both 2018 and 2019.
Airbus delivered just two A350s in the month, compared with average production rates of five. The company is currently battling big customer Qatar Airways over paint and surface degradation on the plane, issues that Reuters reported last week are also affecting several other customers. Separately, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency this week identified another potential issue with the plane.
The company got 318 orders in November, including a 255-jet deal with a group of four discount airlines backed by Bill Franke’s Indigo Partners at the Dubai Airshow. Airbus emerged as the clear winner from the first major industry event since the virus outbreak, with rival Boeing posting a more modest order tally.
EasyJet also firmed up an order for 12 A320neos, while an outline deal secured with Italy’s new state-backed airline for 28 jets was also made official last month.
Airbus saw 75 cancellations in November, with Mexican low-cost carrier Interjet scrapping 28 A320neo orders.