[PARIS] Airbus Group posted a 12 per cent increase in third-quarter operating profit before one-off items to 921 million euros (US$1.01 billion) and confirmed an increase in production of its A320 jetliner to 60 planes a month from 2019.
Europe's largest aerospace group said on Friday that quarterly revenue grew 6 per cent to 14.072 billion euros and confirmed its annual targets, while launching a new 1 billion euro share buyback to be completed by mid-2016.
Analysts were on average expecting quarterly operating income before one-offs of 768 million euros on revenue of 13.867 billion, according to a Reuters survey Reuters had reported on Thursday that the company was set to announce an increase in output of its most popular jet, a key source of cash for funding new developments "The healthy commercial aircraft market, robustness of our backlog and supply chain capability allows us to raise the single-aisle production rate to 60 a month in mid-2019," Chief Executive Tom Enders said in a statement.
Airbus said the industrial ramp-up of its new A350 mid-sized wide-body jet was progressing, but remained "challenging," and reaffirmed plans to break even on the A380 superjumbo this year.
It also reiterated plans to certify and deliver its smaller A320neo, an upgrade of the best-selling narrowbody model, in the fourth quarter despite "several" interruptions to flight tests due to problems with its new Pratt & Whitney engine.