Airbus more than doubled its profits, pulling further ahead in its fight for aviation supremacy with crisis-hit rival Boeing

  • Airbus more than doubled its profits in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2018.
  • Its adjusted operating profit reached 2.53 billion euros ($US2.82 billion) – a 118% increase compared to the first half of last year.
  • Airbus credited the increase to demand for its A320 family, including its more-efficient NEO version, but it warned of upcoming threats related to Brexit, US tariffs on the EU, and delivery challenges.
  • Airbus’ boost comes as it already threatens its US rival Boeing’s status as the world’s largest planemaker as Boeing deals with fallout from two 737 Max crashes, leading to lower deliveries and profits.
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Airbus more than doubled its profits in the first half of 2019, pulling even further ahead in its fight for aviation supremacy with Boeing, its embattled American rival.

Airbus, Europe’s largest aerospace group, said Wednesday that its adjusted operating profit for the first half of 2019 reached 2.53 billion euros ($ 2.82 billion) – a 118% increase compared to 1.16 billion euros ($US1.29 billion) in the first half of 2018.

It reported a second-quarter adjusted operating profit of 1.98 billion euros ($US2.2 billion) – a 72% rise compared to the same period last year, when it reported 1.15 billion euros ($US1.28 billion) in profit.

The results beat forecasts, driving Airbus shares up 1.2%.

Read more:
Boeing has fallen behind its archrival Airbus after a collapse in deliveries, making its nightmare year even worse

Airbus credited increased production of planes in its A320 family, including its more-efficient NEO version. But it warned of challenges in the second half of the year.

“The second half of the year in terms of deliveries and in particular free cash flow continues to be challenging,” Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said in a statement.

Airbus’ boost comes as its rivalry with Boeing heats up, and Airbus threatens to take over Boeing as the world’s largest plane maker for the first time in eight years as Boeing struggles with the fallout from two fatal crashes by its 737 Max planes.

Airbus is on course to become the world’s largest plane maker as the number of commercial planes it delivered surged in the first half of 2019, while Boeing’s collapsed.

Boeing reported a nearly $US3 billion loss for the second quarter of 2019. The US giant is struggling after two of its bestselling 737 Max jets fatally crashed in October 2018 and March 2019, killing 346 people.

The planes have been grounded since March, and newly surfaced issues with the plane have continually delayed its return. The delays are causing frustration for airlines, which are demanding compensation, cancelling flights, considering job cuts, and, in some cases, cancelling their orders from Boeing.

Read more:
Boeing lost nearly $US3 billion in the 2nd quarter as its 737 Max crisis drags on

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said on the release of the company’s second-quarter earnings in July that now is a “defining moment” for Boeing.

Airbus CEO Guillaume FauryERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty ImagesAirbus CEO Guillaume Faury at the Paris Air Show in June 2019.

Airbus CEO Faury also warned on Wednesday of the impacts of the UK’s departure from the EU, and said that governments should prepare for a “likely” case where the UK leaves without a deal with the union. Airbus builds wings for its aircraft in the UK.

Faury also called for a “negotiated solution” to US threats to impose sanctions on the EU after the WTO found that the EU improperly subsidized Airbus. The WTO has also found that the US has improperly subsidized Boeing.

He warned that such tariffs, if introduced, “could significantly affect the delivery of new Airbus aircraft and helicopters to the US market and have a negative effect on Airbus’ financial condition and results of operations.”

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