European aviation firm Airbus said Friday in its earnings results that 2014 was the company's best year ever as it delivered 629 commercial aircraft. The Toulouse, France, maker of civilian and military aircraft reported a 59 percent increase in net profit compared to the previous year, to 2.3 billion euros ($2.58 billion), on $67.98 billion in revenue, a 5 percent increase.
Airbus has so much business that it’s struggling to keep up with some of its larger projects. The company is facing “various operational challenges” with the new A350 long-range wide-body jet and its first deliveries of the A320neo family of fuel efficient commercial planes, Tom Enders, Airbus Group Chief Executive Officer, said in its annual report.
These challenges have rankled Germany’s defense ministry, which has criticized Airbus for delays in the final five of 53 A400M Atlas turboprop military transport aircraft the country ordered. Airbus logged a $616.9 million charge in the fourth quarter to pay contractual penalties for delays in A400M deliveries.
The delays in the A400M program has also angered Turkish and French governments, which led to the resignation last month of the head of the company’s military aircraft program, Domingo Ureña-Raso. He will be replaced by Fernando Alonso, who has been the head of flight testing for the company.
The European aerospace consortium also said it would increase production of its single aisle A320 jets to 50 a month in 2017. Rising demand for smaller commercial aircraft has been fuelled in part by rapid growth for regional service in Asia. At the same time, Airbus will trim production of its larger A330 wide body jet from 10 a month to six as demand falls ahead of the introduction of a more efficient version due out in 2017.
Airbus Group NV (EPA:AIR) shares jumped nearly 7 percent on Friday after the huge jump in profit was announced, to 59.29 euros ($62.02) on the Paris stock exchange.