General Industry

Airbus CEO Says Airline Traffic Recovery Unlikely Before 2024

By Dave Simpson
Airbus CEO Says Airline Traffic Recovery Unlikely Before 2024

The head of European planemaker Airbus said on Wednesday 12 October a recovery in global airline traffic to pre-pandemic 2019 levels was unlikely to take hold fully before 2024.


Chief executive Guillaume Faury told the UK Aviation Club that Airbus was still forecasting a recovery between 2023 and 2025 but that 2023 was now looking increasingly unlikely, noting ongoing airline losses and travel restrictions in China.

UPDATE 1-Airbus CEO Says 2022 Deliveries May Affect Later Output

The above news was followed by the following update:

The head of European planemaker Airbus on Wednesday 12 October reaffirmed a target of delivering a total of 700 aircraft in 2022 - a task he said was necessary to reach a separate monthly production target of 65 narrowbody jets in early 2024.

"There is a lot on our plate ... for the last three months of the year, but it is not very different from what we have done in '17, '18 and '19," chief executive Guillaume Faury said.


"That is for 2022. And we need to get there to be on our way (to) reaching 65," he told the UK Aviation Club.

That in turn will help determine whether Airbus can reach a longer-term goal of 75 narrowbody jets a month in 2025, he added in remarks setting out a sequence of interconnected challenges as supply chains grapple with energy costs and labour shortages.

A recent decision to delay the recovery of monthly A320-family production to 65 by six months, to early 2024, eased pressure on suppliers, though some small suppliers in Europe have had to pause plans due to high energy bills, Faury said.

"Will we get to 65? Of course. Today, early 2024 is the best assessment we have," he said.

Eyeing demand for its single-aisle jets, Airbus wants to go beyond this output to 75 jets a month. Faury said Airbus was "likely" to achieve this in 2025 as planned.


Engine makers have questioned the timing of the plans, but Faury said they had responded later than others to the recovery by raising output to serve new jet production, since they also needed to keep enough engines to feed the repair market.

"We think that 75 is the right place to be for the second half of the decade ... there is more demand than 75, but 75 is a robust place to be from the demand side," Faury said.

Analysts say the decision to delay the interim target of 65 by six months relaxes short-term pressure on suppliers at the expense of increasing the industrial effort as 2025 approaches.

"It is more challenging for 75, for the time it takes to get there, but we will get there. It is just a matter of speed," Faury said.

Airbus deliveries rose in September, bringing nine-month deliveries to 437.


Faury said Airbus was still forecasting a global traffic recovery between 2023 and 2025, but that 2023 now looked less probable amid ongoing travel restrictions in China.

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