So far this year, Airbus has sold 379 planes or a net total of 300 after cancellations. Photo: Getty
So far this year, Airbus has sold 379 planes or a net total of 300 after cancellations. Photo: Getty

Airbus (AIR.PA) reached the highest number of monthly deliveries in September, although order activity remained quiet as COVID-19 continues to hammer the aviation sector.

It delivered 57 jets in September this year, up from 39 in August and exceeding the 55 achieved in February 2020, just before the onset of the airline crisis.

The European planemaker made 341 deliveries over the last nine months including 18 A220s, 282 A320 Family, 9 A330s and 32 A350s. This figure was down 40% from the 571 deliveries the same period last year, with the fall in output triggered by the pandemic.

A significant number of planes were delivered from a parked backlog. Its backlog stands at 7,441 aircraft compared to 7,133 at the same point in 2019.

The only order change registered was the reduction of Macquarie Financial Holdings’ order for 40 A220-300s, which has been revised to 37.

In total, Airbus booked 300 net commercial plane orders compared with 127 net orders compared to the same time period last year.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Future of airline industry in governments’ hands

While the company axed guidance at the outset of the coronavirus crisis, industry sources told Reuters that it is targeting 500 deliveries in 2020, having delivered more than three quarters of that “target” already.

In 2019, Airbus delivered a record annual total of 863 jets. So far this year, it has sold 379 planes or a net total of 300 after cancellations.

Airbus trails ahead of US rival Boeing (BA), which sold 67 jets by the end of August and had a negative net total of 378 orders dominated by cancellations for the 737 Max, which has been grounded for 18 months after

By Tim Hepher

PARIS, Oct 9 (Reuters)Airbus AIR.PA reached the highest number of monthly deliveries of passenger planes so far this year in September, but logged no new sales as crisis-hit airlines continue to bleed cash.

The European planemaker delivered 57 jets in September, up from 39 in August, bringing nine-month deliveries to 341, down 40% from the same period of 2019, company data showed on Friday.

The drop matches a 40% output fall triggered by the coronavirus crisis, with Airbus deciding last month to maintain the new rates unchanged. A significant number of jets were delivered from a parked backlog.

Airbus axed guidance at the outset of the pandemic but is internally targeting around 500 deliveries in 2020 and is three quarters of the way towards its goal, industry sources said.

It delivered a record annual total of 863 jets in 2019.

Jet markets are moribund due to the impact of the crisis on demand and airline balance sheets, although Boeing is seen chasing some deals to bolster its 737 MAX.

Boeing this week cut its long-term demand forecasts for the first time in more than ten years and warned of a challenging decade ahead.

According to Airbus data, Macquarie Financial Holdings, a unit of Australia’s Macquarie Group MQG.AX, cancelled three out of 40 A220 jets originally ordered from Canada’s Bombardier, which sold the passenger jet programme to Airbus in 2018.

So far this year, Airbus has sold 379 aircraft or a net total of 300 after cancellations.

It remains far in front of its U.S. rival which had sold 67 aircraft by the end of August and had a negative net total of 378 orders dominated by cancellations for the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded for 18 months after two crashes.

Boeing

By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) – Honeywell Aerospace <HON.N> on Tuesday cut its outlook for business jet deliveries, but held out hope that most future orders would escape the punishing effect of the COVID-19 crisis that has battered the aviation sector.

Honeywell’s 2020 business aviation outlook forecasts up to 7,300 new business jet deliveries worth $235 billion from 2021 to 2030, down 4% from the same 10-year forecast a year ago.

Yet 80% of business jet operators surveyed in the outlook say their aircraft purchase plans have not been affected by COVID-19, it said.

Corporate planemakers like Canada’s Bombardier Inc <BBDb.TO>, U.S.-based General Dynamics Corp’s <GD.N> Gulfstream Aerospace, and France’s Dassault Aviation SA <AVMD.PA> are closely watching to see if a summer rebound in corporate flights will last and generate demand for new aircraft.

“We are seeing corporate customers expressing interest in growing their fleets so they can fly more executives and others privately, to safeguard employees’ health and prevent disruptions to their business,” Scott Neal, Gulfstream’s senior vice president of worldwide sales, said by email.

Private flights, which carry smaller groups and promise wealthy passengers less risk of exposure to the coronavirus, have generally fared better than those of commercial airlines, with operators like NetJets and VistaJet reporting improved demand this summer.

Still, many forecasters remain cautious about the business jet market with deliveries expected to decline by 25% to 30% in 2020 due to the pandemic. The industry, which delivered 809 business jets in 2019, has still not recovered since its peak of 1,317 deliveries in 2008, analyst Brian Foley said.

Honeywell’s outlook expects new aircraft deliveries to rebound to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of the decade.

Honeywell, a supplier to the aviation industry, expects business jet usage to recover to 2019 levels by the second half

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Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

News from the Chinese electric-car maker

Xpeng

that its vehicle deliveries in the third quarter were up 266% year over year pushed the stock higher. That isn’t the only factor behind the gain.

Xpeng (ticker: XPEV) shares picked up their second Buy rating Monday morning, this time from Bin Wang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Credit Suisse. He now rates shares the equivalent of Buy and has a $21 price target for the stock.

J.P. Morgan analyst Nick Lai also rates Xpeng shares Buy. His price target is $27 a share. Shares climbed 10.2% to $20.04 on Monday.

In addition to his positive call on Xpeng, Wang also rates

NIO

(NIO) shares at Buy and has a $25 price target. He rates

Li Auto

(LI) stock Hold, with a $16 price target for that security. Xpeng, NIO, and Li Auto are three pure-play EV start-ups selling cars in China with stocks listed in the U.S.

Wang’s Buy is just the second rating for Xpeng shares. NIO has 17 analysts covering it, while Li has eight. Xpeng has fewer analysts because it is the newest of the three. Xpeng’s initial public offering was Aug. 26. It sold shares at $15 and the stock traded as high as $25.

The company’s relative newness might be why few analysts cover it. It also why it is difficult to interpret its delivery figures. There is limited history and few analyst estimates to use as a basis for comparison.

Still, the results look solid. Xpeng delivered 3,478 cars in September and 8,578 cars for the third quarter. Third-quarter deliveries rose 266% year over year. September deliveries grew 31% sequentially, compared with August 2020 and 145% compared with September 2019.

Xpeng’s delivery numbers indicate the Chinese EV market continues to be strong.

Boeing projects that the global coronavirus pandemic will result in 11% fewer new jets being delivered in the next decade compared to previous forecasts.

That’s about 2,200 fewer large aircraft built by all manufacturers, or 220 fewer per year on average. Those are mostly projected to be Airbus and Boeing jets but also include smaller regional jets and some built by up-and-coming competition in China.

The projection, part of Boeing’s annual 20-year forecast of total commercial jet industry demand, indicates the severity of the downturn in the aviation business, the challenges still ahead and a painfully slow path to recovery.

Boeing’s forecast, released Tuesday, assumes that the pandemic’s impact will hit hardest through the next three years.

Briefing journalists on the projections, Darren Hulst, vice president of commercial marketing at Boeing, said it will take that long for passenger traffic to recover to 2019 levels.

And he said it will be five years before traffic is back to where it would have been if COVID-19 hadn’t happened and the long-term trend of about 4% growth per year resumes.

For the past decade, passenger air traffic had been growing at about twice that pace and airlines were raking in cash. COVID-19 halted the boom.

Hulst said that annual passenger-traffic growth through 2024 will be about a third of what it had been in the boom decade — and starting from very depressed current traffic levels.

Darren Hulst, vice president of commercial marketing at Boeing, said pandemic’s impact on the aviation industry will hit hardest through the next three years. (Boeing)
Darren Hulst, vice president of commercial marketing at Boeing, said pandemic’s impact on the aviation industry will hit hardest through the next three years. (Boeing)

The latest International Air Transport Association (IATA) data shows passenger traffic in August down 75% worldwide compared to a year earlier. Domestic traffic was just less than half what it was in 2019, and international traffic was 12% of the level