Nov. 14 - Airbus parent EADS has raised its forecast for passenger jet orders and deliveries as it posted a 22 percent increase in underlying nine-month operating profit. But as Joanna Partridge reports Europe's largest aerospace group has warned it still faces ''significant challenges.''
It was one of the biggest challenges airlines have ever faced - ash from an Icelandic volcano. Three years on an Airbus plane operated by easyJet has tested new technology which will, in theory, allow it to fly through an ash cloud. Airbus' parent company EADS is facing equally tough challenges. It posted a 22% increase in profit over the past nine months, and raised its forecast for how many passenger jet orders it'll sell this year. One of those top sellers is the A320, but it says it's battling to generate cash and to develop its A350 jetliner. It's currently testing the new long-haul plane before it starts deliveries in mid-2014. The A380 is becoming a headache too. Edward Hadas from Reuters Breakingviews says they haven't received any orders for the superjumbo for a year. SOUNDBITE: Edward Hadas, Economics Editor, Reuters Breakingviews, saying (English): "The A380 just doesn't seem to have a very clear niche. It's not that much bigger than the A350 or the Dreamliner at Boeing. And it's a four engine plane, and four engines means twice as much maintenance." Airbus is otherwise ahead of schedule this year. EADS had previously forecast more than 1000 orders for 2013 - it hit over 1200 by the end of October. That means so far this year it is ahead of its rival Boeing on orders, but lagging behind it on deliveries.