Airbus cuts A350 production amid 1.23 billion euro quarterly loss

Airbus has cut A350 production to five jets a month, after bringing the monthly rate down from 9.5 to six in April. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - Airbus announced a new cut in production of its marquee A350 jet on Thursday (July 30) as it swung to a larger-than-expected second-quarter loss in the face of global pandemic.

The planemaker also said it hoped to avoid consuming cash before mergers and acquisiitons and customer financing in the second half of the year after a quarterly outflow of 4.4 billion euros (S$7.1 billion) as deliveries tumbled because of the coronavirus collapse in air travel.

Airbus posted an adjusted second-quarter operating loss of 1.23 billion euros as revenues slid 55 per cent to 8.32 billion. Analysts expected a loss of 1.03 billion on revenues of 8.55 billion, according to a company-compiled consensus.

Adjusted losses include 900 million euros of balance sheet impairment charges related to the industry's worst crisis.

Airbus said it had cut A350 production to five jets a month, after bringing the monthly rate down from 9.5 to six in April.

The move came a day after US rival Boeing said it was making further cuts in output of its 787 and 777 jets, which compete with the A350 on long-haul networks.

Airlines were already facing a glut of the industry's biggest jets before the COVID-19 crisis and those models are expected to be the slowest to recover once demand returns to normal levels, which Airbus says could take until 2023 or 2025.

Like many large companies wrestling with the uncertainty of border restrictions and lost demand, Airbus suspended its financial forecasts earlier this year.

Airbus is shedding up to 15,000 jobs or 11 per cent of its workforce to cope with the crisis, which it expects to hold output down by 40 per cent for some two years compared with pre-crisis levels.

It said it expected to make later restructuring provisions between 1.2 billion and 1.6 billion euros related to the plan.

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