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Airbus posts record profits in 2021

February 17, 2022

After massive loses in 2019 and 2020, European aircraft giant Airbus has shifted towards "recovery and growth" and made more money than expected last year. The company now aims to ramp up production.

Passengers seated inside a Airbus A220
Airbus employs over 126,000 globallyImage: Airbus/Taylor James

Airbus reported a record €4.2 billion ($4.8 billion) profit in 2021 despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The high earnings were due to the higher number of aircraft deliveries, good performance of the company's helicopter, defense and space subdivisions, as well as cost-cutting measures, said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury on Thursday.

Last year "was a year of transition, where our attention shifted from navigating the pandemic towards recovery and growth," he said.

"Thanks to the resilience and efforts of our teams, customers and suppliers, we delivered remarkable full-year results."

Why had Airbus previously posted huge losses?

The 2021 earnings mark a strong comeback for the European airplane producer, which reported losses of €1.36 billion in 2019 and €1.1 billion in 2020.

The 2019 loses were due to the company paying out billions in fines over bribery investigations in the US, the UK, and France. Then, 2020 brought unprecedented disruption to the airplane industry as the coronavirus halted travel across the world. Airbus responded to the pandemic by cutting around 10,000 jobs.

The company delivered 611 commercial aircraft in 2021, compared to 566 the year before.

What future plans does Airbus have?

On Thursday, Airbus said it was ramping up production and hoping to reach 720 deliveries in 2022.

It also stated an aim to recruit around 6,000 workers this year. This "assumes no further disruptions to the world economy, air traffic, the company's internal operations, and its ability to deliver products and services," according to a statement.

Airbus shareholders will now be offered dividends of €1.50 per share, the company said.

dj/rt (dpa, Reuters, AFP)