Airbus is set to beat Boeing to be the world's largest jet maker for the second year in a row this year, ending 2020 by resuming deliveries of its A380 superjumbo to Emirates, though its final deliveries are likely to have dropped by 35% from 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
No flights have been scheduled of special Beluga transport planes over the Christmas break. Beluga transport planes carry aircraft sections under an exemption from most coronavirus travel restrictions.
Barring widespread new travel upheaval, industry sources expect Airbus to deliver 550-560 planes in 2020 after it reached more than 520 last week.
But they cautioned that deliveries are subject to an unusual number of variables and that schedules are not set in stone. Airbus is unlikely to repeat a record surge of more than 100 deliveries that it made in December of last year.
An Airbus spokesperson declined to comment on specifics, but said that Airbus continues to operate normally.
"We continue to deliver at full steam and this will continue over the holidays," the spokesperson said.
Airbus said that it delivered an A330neo to Uganda Airlines earlier this month, though fresh doubts have surfaced over similar jets already built for troubled AirAsia X.
After a year-long pause in A380 deliveries to Dubai, Airbus has delivered two A380s to Emirates this month, tracking data shows. It will end the year with three A380 deliveries after Japan's ANA put a newly delivered plane into storage in October.
Airbus has halted initial assembly of the four-engined jet and has six left to deliver. Earlier this month, charter firm HiFly ended efforts to make profits out of a second-hand aircraft, meaning that more A380s are seen likely to follow the ANA jet into storage.
Total Airbus deliveries are expected to fall by 35% this year due to the impact that the pandemic has had on airlines, but Airbus has an insurmountable lead over Boeing, which delivered 118 planes up to the end of November, with the 737 MAX grounded during that period.
Between January and November, Airbus delivered 477 jets.
It has delivered 46 of its main category of planes so far in December, according to the Airbus Hamburg Finkenwerder tracking website, lifting total deliveries so far this year beyond 520.
Industry sources say that Airbus may reach an informal goal of 560 deliveries in 2020, though each delivery comes with uncertainty and some experts say 550 is a safer estimate.
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