Airbus deliveries plunge 80% in April

PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus (AIR.PA) deliveries tumbled 80% to just 14 aircraft in April, compared with a year earlier, as operations were hit by the coronavirus crisis, company data showed on Thursday.

The handovers, down from 70 planes in the same month of 2019, included two wide-bodied jets of which one was an A350 for customer Japan Air Lines (9201.T). The other was an internal delivery of an A330 to be converted into a military tanker.

Demand for jetliners, especially oversupplied twin-aisle models, has slumped as airlines hold back from taking delivery over financial concerns and European lockdowns or travel restrictions make it harder to send inspection teams.

Airbus is operating a system of split shifts divided into red and blue teams in order to slow the spread of the epidemic.

The planemaker sold nine single-aisle aircraft to Irish lessor Avolon in April, but these replace nine previously cancelled by the same firm for earlier delivery – highlighting aggressive moves to save cash and postpone capital spending.

Avolon has said it is planning for a lengthy downturn in demand following the industry’s worst crisis.

So far in 2020, Airbus has delivered 136 aircraft, down from 232 at the same stage of 2019.

It has sold 365 aircraft, while taking 66 cancellations for a net order tally of 299 airplanes.

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