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Airbus has returned to profit in the first half of the year and lifted its forecast as the pan-European planemaker begins to recover from the impact of coronavirus.
The company delivered 297 airliners in six months to the end of June, up 51pc on the same period a year ago, when the pandemic caused the aerospace industry to virtually shut down.
As the world adjusts to Covid-19, Airbus is now predicting that it will deliver 600 aircraft this year, up from the the 566 handed over to airline customers last time round.
But showing the continuing turbulence for the sector, Airbus booked only 38 net orders for new aircraft, as it received 127 cancellations during the period.
Airbus's order book currently has orders for 6,925 aircraft as of June 30, including 5,666 of the A320 family, its top-selling, single-aisle plane.
Guillaume Faury, chief executive, said: "Although the pandemic continues, the numerous actions taken by the teams have delivered a strong first-half performance. This enables us to raise our 2021 guidance although we continue to face an unpredictable environment."
Airbus reported a profit of €2.2bn (£1.9bn), reversing a €2bn loss a year ago, on revenues 30pc higher at €24.6bn.
Airbus now expects an adjusted operating profit of €4bn, double the level it predicted at its first quarter update.
Cash flow expectations have been similarly upgraded, rising to positive €2bn for the full year, against an earlier prediction it would be at a break-even level.
In response to the drop in demand for airliners, last year Airbus announced a widespread redundancy programme, with plans to cut 10pc of its workforce - some 10,000 positions.
The results highlighted progress on this, with employee numbers down 4pc to 126,000.
The company also revealed plans to develop a new freighter version of its A350 wide-body jet as it challenges rival Boeing, which dominates the the cargo market with its large aircraft, such as the 777.
Mr Faury said Airbus would be “enhancing our product line with an A350 freighter derivative, responding to customer feedback for increased competition and efficiency in this market segment”.
Airbus’s results contrast to Boeing, which on Wednesday said it delivered 156 airliner in the first six months of the year, up from 70 a year ago.