Category Archives: Airbus

Airbus announces measures to bolster liquidity and balance sheet in response to coronavirus

Airbus has made this announcement:

  • New € 15 billion credit facility
  • Withdrawal of 2019 dividend proposal with cash value of € 1.4 billion
  • Suspension of top up pension funding 
  • 2020 guidance withdrawn
  • Strong focus on support to customers and delivery

Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) announces measures to bolster its liquidity and balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to assess the ongoing situation and the impact on its business, customers, suppliers and the industry as a whole.

“Our first priority is protecting people while supporting efforts globally to curb the spread of the coronavirus. We are also safeguarding our business to protect the future of Airbus and to ensure we can return to efficient operations once the situation recovers. We have withdrawn our 2020 guidance due to the volatility of the situation. At the same time, we are committed to securing the liquidity of the Company at all times through a prudent balance sheet policy. I am convinced that Airbus and the broader aerospace sector will overcome this critical period,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury.

Reflecting the Company’s prudent balance sheet policy and to ensure financial flexibility, Airbus’ management has received approval from the Board of Directors to: secure a new credit facility amounting to € 15 billion in addition to the existing € 3 billion revolving credit facility; withdraw the 2019 dividend proposal of € 1.80 per share with an overall cash value of approximately € 1.4 billion; and suspend the voluntary top up in pension funding. Given the limited visibility due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the 2020 guidance is withdrawn. Operational scenarios, including measures to minimise cash requirements, have been identified and will be activated depending on the further development of the pandemic.

With these decisions, the Company has significant liquidity available to cope with additional cash requirements related to the coronavirus. Liquidity resources previously standing at approximately € 20 billion, comprising around € 12 billion in financial assets at hand and around € 8 billion in undrawn credit lines, were further bolstered by converting an existing € 5 billion credit line into a new facility amounting to € 15 billion. Available liquidity now amounts to approximately € 30 billion.

By maintaining production, managing its resilient backlog, supporting its customers and securing financial flexibility for its operations, Airbus intends to secure business continuity for itself even in a protracted crisis. Safe and efficient air travel is a key backbone of global economic development and cultural exchange. Airbus therefore highly welcomes governmental efforts around the globe to stabilise this industry by supporting the financial health of its airline customers and its suppliers. Airbus continues to monitor the overall health of the industry.

Airbus has convened its 2020 Annual General Meeting in Amsterdam on 16 April. Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, Airbus discourages physical attendance and strongly encourages shareholders to vote by proxy in line with public health and safety measures.

Airbus statement on USTR decision regarding tariffs

Airbus issued this statement:

Airbus deeply regrets USTR’s decision to increase tariffs on aircraft imported from the EU as well as the decision to maintain tariffs on goods from other sectors.

USTR’s decision to impose tariffs further escalates trade tensions between the US and the EU, thereby creating more instability for US airlines that are already suffering from a shortage of aircraft.

USTR’s decision ignores the many submissions made by US airlines, highlighting the fact that they – and the US flying public – will ultimately have to pay these tariffs.

Airbus will continue its discussions with its US customers and work with them to mitigate effects of tariffs insofar as possible.

Airbus has and will continue to push for a negotiated settlement to this 15-year-long dispute. USTR’s further escalation complicates efforts to find a negotiated outcome to this dispute. This is regrettable.

Airbus hopes that USTR’s position will change, especially when the WTO will authorize the EU to impose tariffs on Boeing aircraft, including the 737Max, 787 and 777 aircraft in the May/June timeframe.

Airbus A330-800 receives joint EASA and FAA Type Certification

The Airbus A330-800 has received joint Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The aircraft’s certification flight-test campaign was successfully performed by aircraft MSN1888, which completed the programme in 370 flight test hours and 132 flights since its first flight in November 2018.

The A330-800, part of a true new-generation A330neo family, is the most efficient longest range entry-level widebody and incorporates new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, a new 3D-optimised wing and new Sharklets using lighter composite materials. Together, these advances bring a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 25 per cent compared with older generation competitor aircraft of similar size.

Certified initially with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 242 tons for a range capability of up to 7,500 nautical miles, the A330-800 will typically seat 220 to 260 passengers in three classes, or up to 406 travellers in a single-class high-density configuration. To date the A330neo Family has won 337 firm orders from 22 operators.

In the A330-800, passengers can expect the highest levels of comfort, with the aircraft featuring the award-winning Airspace by Airbus cabin with larger overhead storage, advanced cabin mood lighting and the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity. Operationally, the A330neo shares a common pilot type-rating with the larger A350 XWB, which facilitates minimum flight training cost and maximum pilot productivity. Maintenance personnel will also benefit from the aircraft’s new Skywise data connectivity features which will help them to predict potential issues before they arise, thus ensuring maximum productivity of the aircraft in revenue service.

The A330 is the most popular widebody family ever, operating over one million flights every year. It has received over 1,800 orders from 120 customers with 1,400 A330s currently in operation today. The A330neo is the latest addition to the leading Airbus widebody Family, which also includes the A350 XWB, featuring unmatched space and comfort combined with unprecedented efficiency levels and unrivaled range capability.

Airbus A330-841N F-WWTO (msn 1888) TLS (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 949077.

Above Copyright Photo: Airbus A330-841N F-WWTO (msn 1888) TLS (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 949077.

Bombardier completes its strategic exit from the Airbus A220 program

Airbus SE, the Government of Québec and  Bombardier Inc. have agreed upon a new ownership structure for the A220 program, whereby Bombardier transferred its remaining shares in Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (Airbus Canada) to Airbus and the Government of Québec. The transaction is effective immediately.

This agreement brings the shareholdings in Airbus Canada, responsible for the A220, to 75 percent for Airbus and 25 percent for the Government of Québec respectively. The Government’s stake is redeemable by Airbus in 2026 – three years later than before. As part of this transaction, Airbus, via its wholly owned subsidiary Stelia Aerospace, has also acquired the A220 and A330 work package production capabilities from Bombardier in Saint-Laurent, Québec.

This new agreement underlines the commitment of Airbus and the Government of Québec to the A220 programme during this phase of continuous ramp-up and increasing customer demand. Since Airbus took majority ownership of the A220 programme on July 1, 2018, total cumulative net orders for the aircraft have increased by 64 percent to 658 units at the end of January 2020.

With this transaction, Bombardier will receive a consideration of $591M from Airbus, net of adjustments, of which $531M was received at closing and $60M to be paid over the 2020-21 period. The agreement also provides for the cancellation of Bombardier warrants owned by Airbus, as well as releasing Bombardier of its future funding capital requirement to Airbus Canada.

“This transaction supports our efforts to address our capital structure and completes our strategic exit from commercial aerospace,” said Alain Bellemare, President and CEO Bombardier, Inc.  “We are incredibly proud of the many achievements and tremendous impact Bombardier had on the commercial aviation industry.  We are equally proud of the responsible way in which we have exited commercial aerospace, preserving jobs and reinforcing the aerospace cluster in Québec and Canada.  We are confident that the A220 program will enjoy a long and successful run under Airbus’ and the Government of Québec’s stewardship.”

The single aisle market is a key growth driver, representing 70 percent of the expected global future demand for aircraft. Ranging from 100 to 150 seats, the A220 is highly complementary to Airbus’ existing single aisle aircraft portfolio, which focuses on the higher end of the single-aisle business (150-240 seats).

As part of the agreement, Airbus has acquired the Airbus A220 and A330 work package production capability from Bombardier in Saint-Laurent, Québec. These production activities will be operated in the Saint Laurent site by Stelia Aéronautique Saint Laurent Inc., a newly created subsidiary of Stelia Aerospace, which is a 100 percent Airbus subsidiary.

Stelia Aéronautique Saint-Laurent will continue the production of the A220 cockpit and aft fuselage production, as well as A330 workpackages, for a transition period of approximately three years at the Saint-Laurent facility. A220 workpackages will then be transferred to the Stelia Aerospace site in Mirabel to optimize the logistical flow to the A220 Final Assembly Line also located in Mirabel. Airbus plans to offer all current Bombardier employees working on the A220 and A330 work packages at Saint-Laurent opportunities around the A220 programme’s ramp-up, ensuring know-how retention as well as business continuity and growth in Québec.

At the end of January 2020, 107 A220 aircraft were flying with seven customers on four continents. In 2019 alone, Airbus delivered 48 A220s, with the further ramp-up to be continued.

Airbus to add A321 production capabilities in Toulouse

Airbus has made this announcement:

Following its strategy to keep its overall production system at the leading edge of technology and to increase industrial capacity and flexibility, Airbus has decided to create new A321 production capabilities at its site in Toulouse.

By mid-2022 the current A380 Lagardère facility in Toulouse will accommodate a digitally-enabled A321 line as a step to modernise the A320 production system in Toulouse. The new facilities will provide more flexibility for A321 production, while keeping the overall single-aisle industrial capacity in Toulouse flat.

“We are enjoying an unprecedented high demand for our winning A320neo Family and especially its A321 Long Range (LR) and Xtra Long Range (XLR) derivatives,” said Michael Schoellhorn, Airbus Chief Operating Officer. “In order to optimise the industrial flow, we have decided to increase our global A321 production capacity and flexibility as well as to establish a next generation Final Assembly Line in Toulouse.”

Currently, the only European Final Assembly Line to assemble A321s is at Airbus’ Hamburg site. In addition, the A321 is also being assembled and delivered from Mobile, Alabama, USA.

Toulouse was selected for several reasons such as: overall competitiveness, time to market, investment cost, available floor space and resources. The decision has been communicated to Airbus’ social partners.

The A320neo Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle with over 7,100 aircraft sold to over 110 customers. Within this family, the A321XLR is the latest evolutionary step which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. From 2023, it will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm and a 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor aircraft. For passengers, the A321XLR’s new Airspace cabin will provide the best travel experience, while offering seats in all classes with the same high-comfort as on a long-haul wide-body, with the low costs of a single-aisle aircraft.

Airbus begins deliveries of first A350s with touchscreen cockpit displays option

Airbus has made this announcement:

Airbus has commenced deliveries to airlines of the first A350s equipped with pioneering new touchscreen cockpit displays. Specially developed for the A350 together with Thales, they will confer enhanced operational efficiencies, greater crew interaction, cockpit symmetry and smoother information management. On 18th December China Eastern Airlines took delivery in Toulouse of the first A350 equipped with the new devices. To date, around 20 airlines have selected the option for their new A350s.

Of the A350 cockpit’s six large screens, three can now become touch capable: the two outer displays plus the lower-centre display. These displays now offer touchscreen capability for the pilots when presenting Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications. This new method of input complements the existing physical keyboard integrated into the retractable table in front of each pilot and also the keyboard & trackball “keyboard-cursor control unit” (KCCU) located on the centre console.

The new technology, which was recently certified for the A350 by EASA in November, facilitates ‘pinch-zooming’ and panning gestures and will facilitate more flexibility and better interaction between both pilots, particularly during these scenarios: (a) before take-off (for computing take-off performance while entering data into the flight management system “FMS”); (b) in-flight/cruise (for accessing en-route navigation charts); and (c) during approach preparation (for consulting the terminal charts before entering FMS data). Moreover, during high workload phases of flight, the touchscreen capability reduces need for pilots to make multiple cursor inputs and avoids them having to flip between different displays when using the EFB applications collaboratively on the lower centre display.

Patrick Piedrafita, Head of Airbus’ A350 XWB Programme said: “Airbus continues to set the industry trends in aircraft cockpit design with these new interactive touchscreen displays in the A350. With our partner Thales we are very proud to bring this technology to our customers, to enhance their aircrews’ operations.”

The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, a carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these features translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions. By the end of November, the A350 XWB Family had received 959 firm orders from 51 customers.

Airbus and China reinforce long-standing partnership

Airbus issued this press release:

Airbus and China are strengthening their long-standing partnership as both sides commit to a further deepening and broadening of cooperation in the aviation industry.

A Memorandum of Understanding on the Further Development of Industrial Cooperation was signed in Beijing by He Lifeng, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China and Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and visiting French President Emmanuel Macron.

According to the MoU, both sides have agreed to take practical and effective measures for new initiatives regarding both Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft. As part of Airbus’ objective to reach a global A320 Family production rate of 63 aircraft per month in 2021, the Airbus Tianjin A320 Family Final Assembly Line (FAL Asia) remains on track to ramp up its production to six aircraft per month by the end of 2019, which is a 50% increase compared to its original design. A350 XWB capabilities will be extended into the Airbus Tianjin wide-body Completion and Delivery Centre (C&DC) from the second half of 2020. The C&DC is scheduled to deliver its first A350 aircraft by 2021 from Tianjin.

“We attach great importance to our long-term strategic partnership with China and its aviation industry,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “Airbus is committed to serving this growth sector with the diverse portfolio it has to offer and we are committed to working with our Chinese partners to shape the future of the industry.”

The potential of China’s aviation market is huge: while China domestic is set to become the world’s largest market, international traffic to and from China has nearly doubled over the last 10 years. According to the Airbus Global Market Forecast, China is expected to require some 7,560 new aircraft over the next 20 years.

In both Airbus’ single-aisle and widebody aircraft programmes, cooperation is well established. In single-aisle, the FAL Asia has been successfully operating for over a decade since its inauguration in September 2008. To date, 450 A320 Family aircraft have been delivered from Tianjin to Airbus’ Chinese and Asian customers since.

In twin-aisle aircraft, the first Airbus’ widebody centre outside Europe, the C&DC – inaugurated in September 2017 – has successfully performed A330 aircraft completion activities including cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer acceptance and aircraft delivery. The A350 XWB, one of the most successful widebodied aircraft ever, has garnered 913 firm orders from 51 customers worldwide.