European aircraft giant Airbus said Wednesday that its net profit more than tripled in the first quarter to 1.2 billion euros ($1.26 billion), despite the impact of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The first-quarter results reflect “a solid performance across our commercial aircraft, helicopter and defense businesses,” said a company statement.
“Our 2022 guidance is unchanged, even though the risk profile for the rest of the year has become more challenging due to the complex geopolitical and economic environment,” said chief executive Guillaume Faury.
The results confirm the company’s recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the air travel industry hard in 2020.
At that time, Airbus drastically reduced production and cut nearly 10,000 jobs as COVID-19 spread around the world.
The company also indicated its optimism for the future, saying it aimed to produce 75 of its best-selling A320-family narrowbody jets each month by 2025, up from 45 per month at the end of 2021.
The world’s largest planemaker is already restoring output for in-demand single-aisle models as pandemic travel restrictions fade away – with an interim target of 65 A320-family jets a month in summer 2023, up from 50 a month now.
On Wednesday, it said it would go further and keep increasing monthly output beyond that date to reach 75 a month by mid-decade, cementing proposals tentatively aired last year.
Engine makers, who had led a rearguard action by suppliers concerned about having to invest only to face overcapacity if Airbus’s forecasts prove optimism, partially opened the door to a hike last week by saying they had agreed quotas for 2024.
But some experts fear widespread shortages in global supply chains will disrupt higher output in the short term, while aircraft financiers gathering for annual conferences in Dublin are worried that high production could depress existing assets.
Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in a statement the global aerospace industry would benefit from the production increase, which leaves the European manufacturer on course for output well ahead of plans announced by rival Boeing.