Airbus says deliveries of new airline jets are nosing higher

Airbus said Monday that it delivered 611 passenger jets in 2021, an 8% increase over 2020 but an indication that airlines are still cautious about adding new planes during a pandemic that has reduced travel worldwide.

More than three-quarters of last year’s deliveries were for planes in Airbus’ A320 family, which are mostly used for short and medium-length flights. Deliveries of wide-body, two-aisle planes continued to lag, reflecting the much slower recovery in international flights.

U.S. rival Boeing is scheduled to report 2021 deliveries and orders on Tuesday.

Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, said it took in a net of 507 orders last year after excluding cancellations. Most were for planes in the A320neo group of single-aisle planes. The company said it ended last year with a backlog of 7,082 aircraft on order.

CEO Guillaume Faury said the orders indicated that airlines are confident about the growth of air travel after COVID-19. He said that “while uncertainties remain,” Airbus is on track to raise production rates through this year.

Airbus will report 2021 financial results on Feb. 17.

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