Airbus had a less-than-stellar Q2, with the aircraft manufacturer receiving orders for only eight planes. The European giant lost a massive €1.2 billion ($1.4 billion) this quarter, with revenues dropping by over half. With it now becoming clear that the aviation industry is unlikely to bounce back for a few years, Airbus is preparing to batten down the hatches.
Eight new orders
Airbus saw only eight new confirmed orders in the second quarter, where the effects of the coronavirus took hold globally. Starting the end of March, countries around the world began implementing lockdowns, and travel became essential-only. At this point, airlines began deferring deliveries, impacting Airbus’ schedules.
The eight new orders came from Irish-leasing firm Avolon, who ordered 8 A320neos and 1 A321neo aircraft. Avolon also canceled an order for an A330neo, bringing down the tally to eight for the quarter. Airbus deliveries picked up in June, with 36 planes delivered during the month, with a total of 74 planes during the quarter.
While this might be a terribly small number for Airbus, it can take solace in Boeing’s struggles with order cancelations. Airbus has been able to largely avoid widescale order cancelations, barring from airlines who have now shut down.
Cancelations coming soon?
As mentioned, Airbus has been able to stave off mass cancellations for any of its planes, unlike Boeing, which has seen hundreds of 737 MAX planes canceled. However, with a backlog of over 7,000 aircraft, Airbus runs the risk of seeing some airlines canceling their orders in the future, as they evaluate their fleets.
In response to the slowing market, Airbus has cut production of its A350 to 5 aircraft a month. Widebodies have taken a hit during the pandemic, with long-haul flying restricted due to border closures and domestic markets recovering faster. Airbus’ focus remains on producing the more popular A320 and A220 for now.
Future looks unclear
Airbus and Boeing’s quarters were both expectedly disappointing, but more worryingly, it’s unclear where the industry is headed. With losses of this size never seen in a notoriously volatile industry, some, including IATA, are predicting a years-long recovery. If this is true, airlines and manufacturers can expect turbulent times with fewer aircraft and lesser revenues.
Boeing has had a rough quarter too, losing a shocking $2.4 billion and delaying the rollout of its flagship 777X. With the 737 MAX now expected to return in Q4, the manufacturer is hoping for an increase in demand as it tries to deliver hundreds of planes.
More optimistically, some are predicting a surge in travel late next year after a vaccine becomes widely available. However, this is contingent on both a successful vaccine and quick production, both of which are far from guaranteed. The future of the industry has never looked more blurry in the short term.