Airbus SE swung to a profit in the first quarter and said it was planning to ramp up production in anticipation of greater demand for its planes.
The company on Thursday reported net income of EUR362 million, about $438 million, up from a net loss of EUR481 million a year earlier, partly because of stronger dollar hedges and cost cutting. Sales dipped slightly to EUR10.5 billion from EUR10.6 billion.
The plane maker delivered 125 commercial aircraft in the first three months of the year–three more than in the same period last year–made up mainly of its A320 family of single-aisle jets.
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Airbus is betting that demand for those smaller planes will start to come back in the second half of the year, and said it was readying itself and its supply chain to take advantage as quickly as possible. Smaller single-aisle planes are typically used for domestic and short-haul travel, which is already showing recovery in the U.S. and China.
Still, the company cautioned that any recovery likely won’t be linear. Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said the surge in Covid-19 cases in India, one of Airbus’s biggest markets, was an “area of great concern” and stressed that European airlines remain in very difficult positions with much of the continent still battling the virus.
The market is even less rosy for larger, widebody aircraft, with any turnaround in demand not expected until next summer at the earliest, Mr. Faury said.
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