Airbus operationally hit its main industrial target of 800 aircraft deliveries in 2018 after record handovers in December. Photo: File

INTERNATIONAL – Airbus operationally hit its main industrial target of 800 aircraft deliveries in 2018 after record handovers in December, two people briefed on the matter said.

The final published number is subject to ongoing auditing checks, with raw delivery data standing on the 800 threshold, but Airbus is said to be optimistic that the European company has all but averted its first ever missed delivery goal.

The unofficial tally, a European record, includes the Canadian A220 recently taken over by Airbus and reflects a frenetic effort to catch up after engine delays and other snags.

It follows days of speculation over whether Airbus had managed to reach its main industrial goal, after cutting it in November due to gaps in engine supplies.

“It seems that they made it,” said one of the people.

Airbus declined to comment.

Shares in the European planemaker fell sharply last week after earlier signs that Airbus was unlikely to meet the target, including a report that it had fallen short by up to nine jets.

Industry sources had later said they did not rule out that Airbus would pull off a positive surprise as figures were compiled and audited. Airbus was due to publish full-year data on Friday but may bring this forward.

Airbus shares were up by 2.7 percent in mid-session trading.

Boeing will publish its own data later on Tuesday and is expected to remain the world’s largest planemaker for a seventh successive year after targeting 810-815 commercial deliveries.

The roll call of new orders was less clear after a late push by both sides but Boeing reached a book-to-bill ratio of 1 after grabbing more net orders than deliveries in 2018, sources said.

Reuters