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Aegean’s first A321neo seen resting at Athens International Airport. (Photo: Konstantinos Chatzigeorgiadis)

Airbus Delivered 21 Aircraft in January, Received No New Orders

With the beginning of 2021, the air transport industry expects market demand to improve with the arrival of new COVID-19 vaccines. Despite that hope, most airlines have had a great part of their fleet grounded while operating half of their normal network throughout 2020, which has negatively affected the aircraft manufacturers which are directly dependent on airlines needing new aircraft.

Despite the flimsiness of market demand, Airbus managed to deliver 21 aircraft to 15 different carriers during the month of January. However, the manufacturer did not receive a single new order, reflective of the current market conditions. In January 2020, the European manufacturer delivered 31 aircraft, and it also received 274 net orders.

Airbus closed 2020 delivering a total of 89 aircraft in December, trying to bolster its year-end numbers with a rash of deliveries to cap off the month. Of the models distributed in January, the majority were Airbus A320 — four ceos and 12 neos — followed by three Airbus A220s, one A330neo and one Airbus A350 XWB.

Delta Airlines was the airline that received the most aircraft, taking delivery of four A321ceos and two A220s. Air China received four A320neos and SAS another two units of the same model. Shenzen Airlines, Uganda Airlines, American Airlines, flynas, Turkish Airlines, Air Canada, China Eastern, Vietnam Airlines and a private owner were the other recipients of the new Airbus aircraft. The European manufacturer still has a delivery backlog of 7,163 aircraft and received no cancellations during the last month.

Airbus closed 2020 with 566 total deliveries, a 34% reduction compared to 2019. The manufacturer adapted its delivery plan in April as a response to COVID-19. Last year, it received 268 net orders — equalling orders minus cancelations — 500 fewer than in 2019, which brought up the backlog to 7,184 aircraft. Asia-Pacific was the continent with most deliveries — 25.8% — followed by Europe — 20.8% — and North America — 15.2%.

Focus on the A321XLR

With the negative news of the aviation world, Airbus is focused on the construction of the A321XLR. Last Thursday, the manufacturer began its assembly program in its factory in Hamburg, Germany.

“Airbus’ factories in Europe and the United Kingdom are preparing themselves for the first assembly process that will be happening at the end of the year,” said Gary O’Donnell, program director for the A321XLR. “The objective of this program is to establish a production line in Hamburg that allows us to have a stable factory for this model.”

The Airbus A321XLR will be assembled in Hamburg with pieces received from Nantes and Toulouse, France; Augsburg , Germany and Broughton, U.K.

“The production line will allow us to increase the assembly of the main fuselage components using longer cycle times in the beginning, with a higher level of engineering and support,” O’Donnell said. “It is important to mention that this new process will avoid risking the rest of the narrow-body production. Once that we have checked the process, we will implement it with confidence in the main production line.”

Arturo Higueras
Arturo Higueras
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