EADS unveiled a 77 percent drop in third-quarter core earnings on Monday, as it battled a downturn in civil aviation and damaging delays to its A400M program.
Europe's largest aerospace group said earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), or operating income before impairments and certain exceptional items, fell to 201 million euros.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 48 percent drop to 296 million euros..
The group declined to give estimates for full year profitability, citing uncertainty over the magnitude of potential charges for the high-profile and much-delayed A400M and A380 programs.
The group said third-quarter EBIT last year had been supported by 965 million euros from the revaluation of loss-making contract provisions at the closing spot rate.
The Airbus parent took a further 224 million euros in provisions in the first nine months of 2009 for delays to its A400M military transport project, on top of the 2.3 billion euros already booked.
EADS is taking minor provisions each quarter pending a contract renegotiation that could lead to a final assessment of its losses on the troubled defense deal, expected later this year. At the half-year stage it also warned of charges in the second half on the A380, whose production costs are over budget.
Group revenues slid 2 percent to 9.528 billion euros in the third quarter, and the group posted a net loss of 87 million euros, EADS said in a statement.
EADS said the continuous weakening of the dollar was challenging its performance because of a weakening hedge book over time. It added that its long-term hedging policy meant it was not a short-term threat.
Besides a downturn in aviation demand, EADS has been feeling the pinch from a weak dollar coupled with declining foreign exchange hedge rates and higher R&D expenses.
EADS said oil price increases and the wider economic environment created a risk for commercial aircraft customers.
Nevertheless, the group is cautiously envisaging an improvement of the economic and market conditions in the next months.
EADS maintained its estimate of up to 300 gross aircraft orders in 2009 and said it expected to deliver around 490 aircraft this year. It said it was still working with customers to establish a delivery target for 2010, including the A380 superjumbo program.
(Reporting by Helen Massy-Beresford and Matthias Blamont, editing by Will Waterman)