could boost production to 11 aircraft a month in the second quarter of 2014 if the aircraft’s order book is not adversely affected by retaliatory actions against the EU’s inclusion of airlines in its emissions trading scheme (ETS).
Current production rates produce nine A330s each month and the manufacturer already was on track to build 10 A330 a month next year.
While these production increases are planned, Louis Gallois, CEO of Airbus-parent, is concerned about deliveries to China as Beijing is contemplating a block on widebody deals because of its opposition to Chinese airlines being covered under the ETS.
While an order form 10is attracting most interest, six A330 deliveries are also at risk next year and 19 more by the end of 2014, and parts production of those is underway. There are 10 more A330s beyond then, although work has yet to begin on those aircraft.
Gallois also warns that the“schedule is tightening as Airbus progresses towards its next milestones, particularly entry-into-FAL [final assembly process].” For now, however, the company is sticking with the schedule, revised last year, of having the aircraft enter service in the first half of 2014.
Final assembly of the first A350, a static test model, is to start in April, with the first flight aircraft to begin assembly during the summer.
Airbus also has made a provision in its results to fix wing rib-foot cracking in its A380 fleet. The initial cost of fixing the 67 A380s already delivered is €105 million (US$139 million), but EADS is still assessing the cost of changing the production process in Broughton, Wales, to avoid a reoccurrence of the cracks.
Airbus also has been making progress with efforts to shift some airline customers to euro-denominated contracts, reducing EADS’s exposure to dollar exchange rate issues. More than $5 billion in aircraft deliveries between 2012 and 2016 are now on euro contracts, says CFO Hans-Peter Ring, adding that efforts to increase that level continue this year.
The move comes as EADS reports full-year financing results, with earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) at €1.8 billion before one-off charges.
The company’s guidance for 2012 is for €2.5 billion EBIT. The company also expects to see revenue grow around 6%, after increasing 7% in 2011 to €49.1 billion.