Profits flying high for Airbus' parent firm despite a few technical hiccups
THE parent company of Airbus has announced that its profits for the last six months have almost doubled to a staggering £1 billion.
Although the firm has been hit by two major problems it has still enjoyed one of its most successful years on record thanks to the enormous popularity of planes part-designed at its factory in Filton.
The company revealed the six-monthly figures to the French stock markets just a few weeks after it announced billions of pounds worth of orders at the Farnborough Air Show.
Much of the recent success of the firm has been built on the popularity of the new version of the A320 aeroplane which was partly designed in Filton.
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Airbus employs more than 4,000 in South Gloucestershire and is one of Bristol's most important companies, according to estimates the aviation sector supports around 20,000 jobs in the city.
Airbus has become the largest aeroplane manufacturer in the world in the last 18 months overtaking its rival Boeing in the process.
And according to the latest set of figures EADS, the parent of Airbus, almost doubled profits for the first half of the year.
The figures were much better than expected.
However, it was not all good news for the firm.
The problems discovered in the wings of the A380 super-jumbo has seen a fall in orders for the plane over the coming year. As reported in the Post previously, cracks in the wings of the plane were caused by a design fault in work carried out in Filton.
EADS was also forced to admit yesterday that its long awaited A350 aircraft will also be delayed again by another three months.
The plane, which is Airbus's answer to Boeing's Dreamliner is now expected to come into service in the second half of 2014 – a year later than originally expected.
Tom Enders, who became chief executive of EADS earlier this year, admitted there had been problems along the way.
He said: "We do expect that the hiccup with the wing cracks and the solutions will impact deliveries and I do expect that we will not reach 30 deliveries next year.
"Obviously we have a challenge dealing with the wing cracks and with customers and that will result in a temporary delivery doubt.
"But we know how to fix the problem and it is well under way."
He said: "Let's be honest, we have a problem with the A380 with the wings. Obviously, some airlines who would have put in an order this year are tempted to wait a little longer.
Mr Enders added: "Our key programs, particularly at Airbus, continue to command our utmost attention.
"On the A350 especially, maturity of sections delivered to the final assembly is of key importance to us as we prepare for a robust production ramp-up."
The delay to the A350, which stems from problems in piecing together the composite wings, which are designed in Bristol, are something of an embarrassment for the firm.
Mr Enders said: "The A350 remains a challenging program and any further delays would lead to higher rates of charges."
Airbus's A400M military transporter plane, which is also part built in Bristol, has also been delayed as a result of problems with testing of its engines.
As a result of the growth in demand the firm is also increasing production levels at its factories.
EADS expects Airbus to deliver some 580 commercial aircraft next year. It spelled out its goal to receive orders for between 600 and 650 aeroplanes over the coming year.