The bullish stance of the European aircraft maker came as it raised its full-year profit forecast and cash flow target for the second time this year, and stuck to an earlier target of delivering 600 aircraft. by the end of 2021.
Airbus said it now expects pre-tax profit of € 4.5m, up from previous forecast of € 4m, and free cash flow of € 2.5bn. euros, compared to 2 billion euros, assuming there are no more disruptions from the pandemic.
The company reported third-quarter profits of 666 million euros, down 19% from a year earlier, but narrowly beating the 648 million euros forecast by analysts polled by Reuters. Sales for the quarter amounted to 10.5 billion euros.
The company faces a difficult balancing act in trying to rally suppliers affected by the pandemic to ramp up production to meet customer demand for recovery.
In May, Airbus surprised the industry by presenting plans for a sharp increase in production of its A320 family of jets, the world’s most popular narrow-body passenger aircraft. Engine builders and aircraft rental companies have since fended off the more aggressive targets, warning they were too exuberant.
Guillaume Faury, chief executive of Airbus, said the company was aware of “tensions in the supply chain”.
“We see all the difficulties in going from a 15-month hibernation to doing business in a world where many commodities and many sectors are recovering,” he said.