Tag Archives: Airbus

Airbus concludes ATTOL with fully autonomous flight tests

Airbus made this announcement:

Following an extensive two-year flight test programme, Airbus has successfully concluded its Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off and Landing (ATTOL) project.

In completing this project, Airbus has achieved autonomous taxiing, take-off and landing of a commercial aircraft through fully automatic vision-based flight tests using on-board image recognition technology – a world-first in aviation.

In total, over 500 test flights were conducted. Approximately 450 of those flights were dedicated to gathering raw video data, to support and fine tune algorithms, while a series of six test flights, each one including five take-offs and landings per run, were used to test autonomous flight capabilities.

The ATTOL project was initiated by Airbus to explore how autonomous technologies, including the use of machine learning algorithms and automated tools for data labelling, processing and model generation, could help pilots focus less on aircraft operations and more on strategic decision-making and mission management. Airbus is now able to analyse the potential of these technologies for enhancing future aircraft operations, all the while improving aircraft safety, ensuring today’s unprecedented levels are maintained.

Airbus will continue research into the application of autonomous technologies alongside other innovations in areas such as materials, alternative propulsion systems and connectivity. By leveraging these opportunities, Airbus is opening up possibilities for creating new business models that will transform how aircraft are developed, manufactured, flown, powered and serviced.

The rapid development and demonstration of ATTOL’s capabilities was made possible due to a cross-divisional, cross-functional, global team comprising of Airbus engineering and technology teams, Airbus Defence and Space, Acubed (Project Wayfinder), Airbus China and ONERA under the leadership of Airbus UpNext.

The last Airbus A380 convoy passes through Levignac

The last convoy has passed through the town of Levignac, France  (near Toulouse).

The fuselage will become msn 272 for Emirates in mid 2021. It will be the last Airbus A380 built.

For 16 years the wings and fuselages arrived on the Atlantic coast and are then transported by barge inland and then via local roads from Langon to Toulouse, passing through the town of Levignac. The first convoy went through Levignac in 2004.

Copyright Photos: Eurospot.

Video:

Airbus threatens to sue its airline customers over undelivered aircraft

Airbus is threatening to sue some of its airline customers who are refusing to honor their contracts with undelivered aircraft according to Reuters.

Many airlines have been requesting to delay deliveries due to the sudden drop in passengers due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Airbus delivered 24 aircraft in May.

Read the full report.

Airbus officially opens its A220 production facility in the U.S.

Airbus has made this announcement:

A new chapter in the development of Airbus’ U.S. production capabilities has begun with inauguration of the completed A220 commercial aircraft final assembly line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama.

This 270,000-square-foot facility – which can produce both the A220-100 and A220-300 versions – houses five primary assembly stations where major airframe component assemblies come together for a completed aircraft.

An A220 first for JetBlue

Airbus’ production team in Mobile, Alabama also marked another milestone, welcoming the first component assemblies destined to become an A220 for JetBlue. This low-cost carrier will be the second airline customer receiving U.S.-built A220s when the aircraft is delivered in late 2020.

“The team is excited to start working in their new facility and to welcome a new customer,” said Paul Gaskell, president of A220 USA and Head of A220 Program in Mobile. “It’s a strong endorsement from JetBlue in this challenging time.”

An expanded U.S. industrial footprint 

Airbus announced plans in October 2017 for the addition of A220 manufacturing at Mobile – which is situated on the edge of Mobile Bay along the Gulf of Mexico.

The company began producing A220s at Mobile in August 2019 using space in an existing Final Assembly Line hangar for U.S.-built A320 Family aircraft, and in newly-constructed support hangars. With the start of operations in the dedicated A220 final assembly line, Airbus’ production site in Alabama has now officially doubled in size.

“The expansion of our commercial aircraft production in Mobile – from the A320 Family to the A220 – further solidifies Airbus’ standing as a truly global aircraft manufacturer, and confirms that Airbus remains an important part of the American manufacturing landscape,” added Gaskell.

Mobile, Alabama is the second assembly site for the A220, which is Airbus’ latest addition to its product line of single-aisle commercial aircraft. The A220’s primary production facility and program headquarters are located in Mirabel, Canada, where dedicated functions – including engineering expertise and support functions – also are situated.

Airbus loses more than $500 million in the first quarter

Airbus SE reported consolidated financial results for its First Quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2020.

“We saw a solid start to the year both commercially and industrially but we are quickly seeing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic coming through in the numbers,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury. “We are now in the midst of the gravest crisis the aerospace industry has ever known. We’re implementing a number of measures to ensure the future of Airbus. We kicked off early by bolstering available liquidity to support financial flexibility. We’re adapting commercial aircraft production rates in line with customer demand and concentrating on cash containment and our longer-term cost structure to ensure we can return to normal operations once the situation improves. At all times, the health and safety of Airbus’ employees is our top priority. Now we need to work as an industry to restore passenger confidence in air travel as we learn to coexist with this pandemic. We’re focused on the resilience of our company to ensure business continuity.”

Net commercial aircraft orders totalled 290 (Q1 2019: -58 aircraft) with the order backlog comprising 7,650 commercial aircraft as of 31 March 2020. Airbus Helicopters booked 54 net orders (Q1 2019: 66 units), including 21 H145s, 15 UH-72 Lakotas for the US Army and 2 Super Pumas. Airbus Defence and Space’s order intake of € 1.7 billion included military aircraft-related services, new contract wins in telecommunications and in connected intelligence. Also included is the Phase 1A demonstrator contract for Europe’s Future Combat Air Systems programme.

Consolidated revenues decreased to € 10.6 billion (Q1 2019: € 12.5 billion), reflecting the difficult market environment impacting the commercial aircraft business with 40 less deliveries than a year earlier, partly offset by a better mix and more favourable foreign exchange environment. A total of 122 commercial aircraft were delivered (Q1 2019: 162 aircraft), comprising 8 A220s, 96 A320 Family, 4 A330s and 14 A350s. Airbus Helicopters delivered 47 rotorcraft (Q1 2019: 46 units) with its 19% increase in revenues reflecting the favourable delivery mix and growth in services. Revenues at Airbus Defence and Space were stable    year-on-year. One A400M transport aircraft was delivered in the quarter.

Consolidated EBIT Adjusted – an alternative performance measure and key indicator capturing the underlying business margin by excluding material charges or profits caused by movements in provisions related to programmes, restructurings or foreign exchange impacts as well as capital gains/losses from the disposal and acquisition of businesses – declined to  € 281 million (Q1 2019: € 549 million), mainly driven by Airbus.

Airbus’ EBIT Adjusted of € 191 million (Q1 2019: € 463 million(1)) mainly reflected the lower commercial aircraft deliveries and associated costs, partly offset by positive foreign exchange effects.

Airbus delivered further industrial progress in the first quarter, however around 60 aircraft could not be delivered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As announced in early April, due to the COVID-19 situation average monthly aircraft production rates are being adjusted to 40 for the A320 Family, 2 for the A330 and 6 for the A350. This represents a reduction of roughly one third compared to pre-crisis average production rates. On the A220, the Final Assembly Line in Mirabel, Canada, is expected to progressively return to a monthly rate of 4 aircraft.

Airbus Helicopters’ EBIT Adjusted increased to € 53 million (Q1 2019: € 15 million), reflecting the favourable delivery mix and growth in its services business.

EBIT Adjusted at Airbus Defence and Space decreased to € 15 million (Q1 2019: € 101 million), reflecting the lower business performance, including in Space Systems. Due to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, the incremental impact on the business is being assessed and the restructuring plan at Defence and Space will be adjusted accordingly.

Consolidated self-financed R&D expenses totalled € 663 million (Q1 2019: € 654 million).

Consolidated EBIT (reported) was € 79 million (Q1 2019: € 181 million), including Adjustments totalling a net € -202 million. These Adjustments comprised:

  • € -33 million related to A380 programme cost;
  • € -134 million related to the dollar pre-delivery payment mismatch and balance sheet revaluation;
  • € -35 million of other costs, including compliance costs.

The consolidated reported loss per share of € -0.61 (Q1 2019 earnings per share: € 0.05) includes the financial result of € -477 million (Q1 2019: € -43 million). The financial result includes a net € -245 million related to Dassault Aviation financial instruments and € -136 million from the full impairment of a loan to OneWeb, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in late March. The consolidated net loss(2) was € -481 million (Q1 2019 net income: € 40 million).

Consolidated free cash flow before M&A and customer financing amounted to € -8,030 million (Q1 2019: € -4,341 million) and included the payment of € -3.6 billion in penalties related to January 2020’s compliance agreement with the authorities. Despite the lower commercial aircraft deliveries and the significant inventory build-up, free cash flow before M&A and customer financing was at a similar level compared to the first quarter of 2019 when excluding the penalty payment. Consolidated free cash flow was € -8,501 million (Q1 2019: € -4,448 million).  The consolidated net cash position was € 3.6 billion on 31 March 2020 (year-end 2019: € 12.5 billion) with a gross cash position of € 18.4 billion (year-end 2019: € 22.7 billion).

Given the current COVID-19 environment, various measures were announced in late March 2020 to protect the Company’s financial liquidity and continue to fund its operations. These included securing a new credit facility amounting to € 15 billion, withdrawing the 2019 dividend proposal and suspending the voluntary top up in pension funding. In addition, a € 2.5 billion bond was issued, partially terming out the € 15 billion credit facility, and settled on 7 April 2020. In coming quarters, the Company will continue to focus on cash preservation and will be reducing cash outflows. Besides reducing expected 2020 capital expenditure by around € 700 million to around € 1.9 billion, the activated measures also include the deferral and suspension of activities which are not critical to business continuity and to meeting customer and compliance commitments.

The 2020 guidance was also withdrawn in March. The impact of COVID-19 on the business continues to be assessed and given the limited visibility, in particular with respect to the delivery situation, no new guidance is issued.

Airbus unveils a new aircraft “e-Delivery” process

Airbus has made this announcement:

A new aircraft hand-over and “e-Delivery” virtual process has recently commenced operation, guaranteeing continuation of Airbus’ delivery stream, while integrating the required health & safety requirements during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first customer to adopt the remote end-to-end process is Pegasus Airlines, which in the last few days received three brand new ‘e-delivered’ A320neo Family aircraft.

More airlines will follow likewise in the coming days and weeks. This new e-Delivery approach comprises three main stages: (a) Technical Acceptance Completion (TAC) tasks delegated to Airbus (or to a local third party appointed by the airline); (b) electronic Transfer-of-Title (electronic ToT); and (c) ferry-flight and subsequent reception of the aircraft at the customer’s base.

For the TAC (which is a prerequisite for ToT) the airline can delegate Airbus to perform, on its behalf, all the necessary actions. These include the ‘ground-check’, the acceptance test flight, acceptance manuals and procedures, as well as minor cosmetic rework if needed. Then for the ToT completion, Airbus’ and customers’ teams take benefit from a new secure collaborative platform: “e-SalesContracts”. This brings them all together – wherever they happen to be – into one real-time virtual environment where they can optimise and simplify all the contractual transactions, from the paperless drafting and commercially negotiating the delivery documents up to the remote ToT digital signature. This platform thus obviates the need for any of the customer’s own staff to be physically present at the Airbus Delivery Centre. After the TAC and ToT formalities are complete, the subsequent ferry-flight is also performed in a health-wise safe manner whereby the customer’s own flight crew (or an appointed third party) can pick-up the sanitised aircraft and fly it straight back from the delivery centre to the airline’s home base.

As well as affording a means of safe business continuity during the current COVID-19 crisis, the e-Delivery process, especially its new collaborative digital aspects – which confer enhanced workflow efficiencies, flexibility, transparency, plus a more environmentally-friendly and smoother overall customer experience – could become the blueprint for Airbus and its customers going forward.

Airbus reduces its production rate by one third

Airbus has made this announcement:

  • Business impacted by COVID-19 pandemic 
  • 21 net orders and 36 deliveries in March 2020
  • 290 net orders and 122 deliveries in Q1 2020
  • Production rates revised downwards adapting to new market environment

After a solid commercial and industrial performance at the beginning of the year, Airbus (stock exchange symbol: AIR) is now revising its production rates downwards to adapt to the new Coronavirus market environment.

In Q1 2020, Airbus booked 290 net commercial aircraft orders and delivered 122 aircraft.

A further 60 aircraft were produced during the quarter, highlighting the solid industrial performance, however they remain undelivered due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

36 aircraft were delivered in March across the different aircraft families, down from 55 in February 2020. This reflects customer requests to defer deliveries, as well as other factors related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The new average production rates going forward have been set as follows:

  • A320 to rate 40 per month
  • A330 to rate 2 per month
  • A350 to rate 6 per month

This represents a reduction of the pre-coronavirus average rates of roughly one third. With these new rates, Airbus preserves its ability to meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves.

Airbus is working in coordination with its social partners to define the most appropriate social measures to adapt to this new and evolving situation. Airbus is also addressing a short-term cash containment plan as well as its longer-term cost structure.

“The impact of this pandemic is unprecedented. At Airbus, protecting our people and supporting the fight against the virus are our chief priorities at this time. We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together”, said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury. “Our airline customers are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We are actively adapting our production to their new situation and working on operational and financial mitigation measures to face reality.”

In its effort to support the fight against the COVID-19, Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees. This has been achieved by implementing new stringent work standards and processes. Airbus is contributing to the development, sourcing and ferrying of medical equipment, including facemasks and ventilators, in support of medical health services.

Airbus A350-1000 deployed in fight against COVID-19

Airbus has made this announcement:

Airbus continues to purchase and supply millions of face masks from China, the large majority of which will be donated to governments of the Airbus home countries, namely France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

An Airbus flight test crew has just completed its latest mission with an A350-1000 test aircraft. This is the third of such missions between Europe and China. The aircraft returned to France with a cargo of 4 million face masks on Sunday 5 April.

The A350-1000 left Toulouse, France, on Friday 3 April, reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin, China on 4 April and returning to Hamburg the same day.

Since mid-March, the previous two missions were performed by an A330-800 and an A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Airbus also deployed an A400M and its Beluga fleet to transport shipments of masks between its European sites, in France, Germany, the UK and Spain.

Airbus will continue to support the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic wherever possible.

“I would like to pay tribute to all the Airbus teams, globally, supporting the fight against COVID-19. They’re living our values in assisting those who are saving lives every day”, said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. ”

Airbus is focused on the health and safety of its employees and supporting its customers and the industry eco-system with business continuity. At the same time Airbus is contributing to many vital public and private services and working with partners who rely on aircraft, helicopters, space and security solutions to carry out life-saving missions in support of the global pandemic.

Airbus is deploying its employees, their expertise and know-how and leveraging technology in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, for example in designing and manufacturing ventilators and 3D printed visors which are critical resources for hospitals.

The Company is partnering with other organisations in unprecedented ways to achieve this goal as fast as possible.

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.