October 30, 2019 / 6:27 AM / 14 days ago

Airbus cuts delivery goal on Hamburg plant snags

PARIS/HONG KONG, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Airbus cut its full-year delivery goal for commercial jets on Wednesday, as the planemaker struggles with production delays at a newly expanded German plant.

Europe’s largest aerospace group expects to deliver “around 860” airliners in 2019 instead of the 880-890 previously targeted, the company said as it posted 1.6 billion euros ($1.78 billion) in adjusted operating income for the third quarter.

The revised delivery numbers and outlook “reflect the underlying actions to secure a more efficient delivery flow in the next years”, Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in the company statement.

The adjusted operating profit figure rose 2% year-on-year as revenue fell 1% to 15.3 billion euros for July-September and net income rose 3% to 989 million euros. The group also trimmed its 2019 free cash flow goal to reflect the revised delivery outlook.

Airbus has been wrestling with delays to its A321 jets at its plant in Hamburg, Germany for around two years, and a top leasing industry executive said earlier on Wednesday that the situation showed no sign of improving.

John Plueger, chief executive of Air Lease Corp, told the Airfinance Journal Asia Pacific 2019 conference that problems at the Hamburg plant were “getting worse, not better”.

Asked about Plueger’s comments, an Airbus spokesman said: “We are agreeing next deliveries with our customers.” The discussions with customers were confidential, he added.

To reach its revised 2019 goal, Airbus must still hand over 289 planes in the final quarter, a little short of its record 297 deliveries in the same period last year. ($1 = 0.9001 euros) (Reporting by Laurence Frost in Paris and Tim Hepher in Hong Kong; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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