European planemaker Airbus, a unit of EADS, expects to match the number of planes it delivered last year in 2009 but said the A380 superjumbo programme was still challenging.
“We’re on track to repeat the 2008 delivery record of 483 planes in 2009,” said Tom Williams, Airbus’s vice president of programmes at a briefing at its Broughton, north Wales plant yesterday.
A drop in global passenger demand has Airbus and US rival Boeing headed for their worst annual order tally in at least 15 years as airlines cancel and defer orders, weighing on the whole aerospace supplier sector.
Airbus has booked 149 gross orders before cancellations this year. Its target is 300 orders for 2009, meaning it has a lot to make up in the fourth quarter.
Williams added that the A380 programme was “still challenging” and “not running as smoothly as we would like”.
Airbus has repeatedly cut 2009 production targets for the mammoth passenger jet and now plans to deliver only 13 this year.
Industry body IATA said last month that the sector is still far away from returning to profit, though air traffic demand has started recovering from the steep slump. It has said it sees the world’s airlines losing $11 billion this year.
The euro is also causing a headache for European manufacturers. The currency has been lingering around $1.50 after hitting 14-month highs, hurting European
manufacturers as production costs in their home currency rise compared to dollar-denominated sales abroad.
Airbus’s owner EADS has stepped up calls for action to help European exporters cope with the weak dollar.
Airbus also said the new A400M military transporter aircraft would fly before the end of the year.
On the new A350 passenger jet Williams said the company would start producing 10 aircraft per month and that its first flight would be in late 2012.