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Radio France Internationale
Radio France Internationale

Airbus chalks up record profits despite supply chain woes

A fuselage section of an Airbus A320 plane at the company's facility in Montoir-de-Bretagne near Saint-Nazaire, France, 1 July 2020. © Stephane Mahe/Reuters

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus made record profits in 2022, even in the face of supply chain problems.

Airbus’s net profit rose 1 percent, to 4.2 billion euros in 2022, a record for the second year in a row, even though it delivered fewer aircraft than originally planned because of supply chain problems.

"We delivered solid financials despite an adverse operating environment that prevented our supply chain from recovering at the pace we expected," CEO Guillaume Faury said in the company's annual earnings statement, released Thursday.

Airbus delivered 661 commercial aircraft in 2022, well below its original target of 720, which was later lowered to 700, and then abandoned weeks before the end of he year.

Some of its 10,000 suppliers had trouble rebuilding their workforce, as staff had been let go during the pandemic. Others had problems obtaining raw materials, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine complicated sourcing certain parts.

Faury told analysts Thursday that the aerospace supply chain has "stopped degrading" and will improve progressively over time but still faces disruption in 2023.

But the general outlook for the sector looks promising, with air travel back on the rise and traffic expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, and double by 2050.

Plane orders rose by 820 in 2022, bringing the total backlog to 7,239 at the end of the year. Air India announced this week it would be ordering 250 new planes, in a record deal.

The company hopes to deliver 720 commercial aircraft in 2023, increasing production as airlines are looking for new, more fuel-efficient aircraft, given high fuel prices.

(with wires)

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