Airbus is struggling to accelerate the production rate of the A220, manufactured in Mirabel

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Airbus struggles to accelerate the production rate of the A220, manufactured in Mirabel

An Airbus employee works under the wing of an A220 at the plant in Mirabel, Quebec.

The production rate of the A220 from Airbus, partly assembled in Mirabel, was slowed by supply chain difficulties in 2022. The French aircraft manufacturer estimates that the program, 25% owned by the Quebec state, should still achieve profitability around 2025.

In 2022, Airbus delivered 53 A220 aircraft, Bombardier's former C Series, according to data released by the company on Tuesday. This is an increase of only three aircraft compared to the year 2021.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, acknowledged that the number of deliveries has not lived up to the company's expectations. Supply chain difficulties have prevented us from reaching our targets, the leader explained during a press conference call.

The big boss of Airbus does not believe that these difficulties will delay the moment when the program will reach profitability, expected for the mid-decade, around 2025. We are working to maintain the trajectory of the program. Yes, there are difficulties. We are working hard to catch up and maintain our forecast.

On average, Airbus delivered 4.4 A220 aircraft per month during the year 2022. It aims to reach a monthly pace of 14 aircraft by 2025. In March, the Chairman and CEO of ;Airbus Canada, BenoƮt Schultz, had said that the company had reached a production rate of six aircraft per month.

The Government of Quebec has invested nearly 1.68 billion in the C Series and A220 since 2016. Quebec will be able to buy out its stake in 2030, about five years after Airbus believes it will reach profitability.

In 2022, Airbus received 127 orders for the A220 aircraft. Including cancellations, this represents 105 net orders. Among notable 2022 orders, JetBlue announced in February that it was ordering 30 additional aircraft. In October, Air Canada announced the acquisition of 15 more aircraft.

Supply chain difficulties have challenged the multinational's entire business. Airbus delivered 661 aircraft, an increase of 8% compared to 2021. The company was, however, aiming for 720 deliveries initially. This is less than our objectives, acknowledged Mr. Faury.

Airbus recorded 1078 new orders, or 820 net orders taking cancellations into account.

< p class="e-p">Even though Airbus has faced headwinds, the French company is ahead of American aircraft manufacturer Boeing for a fourth year in a row.

L& The aviation industry will continue to navigate a challenging environment in 2023, Faury predicted. Even if the old problems improve, we could be hit by the consequences of the energy crisis in Europe as well as the chaotic situation in China, which has set aside the policy of zero COVID.

Despite the complex environment, management maintains that it will be able to follow its medium-term production plan and meet the contracts on its order book.

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