A financial forecast from Airbus SE reveals it has been able to stem the outflow of cash in the third quarter, fuelling the planemaker’s confidence in a swift recovery from the COVID-19.

The announcement comes as the global aerospace industry records it worst ever quarter, with record low orders as airlines attempt to delay or renegotiate new plane orders to preserve cashflow.

“At least” breakeven in Q4

Airbus has released a statement today on track to meet a target of “at least” breakeven adjusted free cash flow in the fourth quarter. The group generated 600 million euros in the three months through September, having burned through 4.4 billion in the second quarter.

The forecast indicates a more optimistic approach to the crisis than its US rival which posted a $925m loss on Wednesday. The manufacturer also warned of 30,000 job cuts after another quarter of heavy losses. Boeing expected to have a workforce of 130,000 by the end of 2021, down from 160,000 before the pandemic.

Boeing job cuts deepen

Boeing announced 16,000 job losses in April as the implications of the COVID-19 crisis became clear. The manufacturer announced a further 3,000 cuts to 19,000 in July, when it announced it would stop producing the 747 airliner .

Boeing reported a $925m for the third quarter of 2020, although tax benefits meant the net loss attributable to shareholders was $449m. That compared with a profit of $1.2bn in the same period last year.

Airbus sets ambitious A320neo programme targets

Despite a new wave of lockdowns in Europe, Airbus is planning to recover from the aviation crisis through plans to increase production on its most popular narrowbody programme from 2021.

Airbus delivered 145 planes in the third quarter, as air traffic remained subdued, compared with just 28 for Boeing. The company surprised the market last week, telling suppliers to be ready to support a monthly rate of 47 A320neo-family planes in the second half of 2021.

Airbus announced plans to cut 15,000 jobs in July, posted a restructuring charge of 1.2 billion. Third-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and taxes fell 49 per cent to 820 million, beating the analysts’ estimates.

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