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Airbus profits rise despite A400M delivery delays

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Media captionAirbus chief executive Tom Enders speaks to the BBC's Aaron Heslehurst about the future of the A380 superjumbo: ''Airlines love it, customers love it''

European aviation firm Airbus has reported soaring full-year profits despite setting aside €551m (£401m) for delays on its A400M military aircraft.

It said net income rose 59% to €2.3bn in 2014 from €1.4bn a year earlier.

Airbus delivered a record total of 629 commercial aircraft last year, three more than in 2013, although this was below Boeing's total of 723 jets.

The firm said it would increase production of its smaller "single aisle" A320 jets to 50 a month in 2017.

But it will cut production of its wide-body A330 jet to six a month from its current level of 10 a month due to falling demand.

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Demand for the A330 is slowing as Airbus starts taking orders for a new-engine version of the plane that it says it will begin delivering at the end of 2017.

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said the firm could cut production of the aircraft to less than six a month, if it deemed this necessary.

"We have quite a few campaigns ongoing, including some that are essential for filling slots in 2016," he said. "The current assumption is we will go down to rate six, if we find we have to further adapt, we will do so."

Shares in Airbus rose more than 7% on the Paris stock exchange.

'Positive outlook'

Mr Enders told the BBC the only reason that Boeing was currently ahead of Airbus in terms of production was because Boeing's 787 aircraft was "up and running and they are producing it at 100-plus a year and the Airbus 350 is two years behind".

He said in a couple of years Airbus would be competing neck and neck with Boeing once more in terms of output.

Mr Enders said Airbus was producing around 30 A380 superjumbos a year and dismissed talk that his firm could mothball production.

"I have a pretty positive outlook and perspective for our big bird," he said.

In December, Airbus shares fell more than 10% - their worst one-day fall for six years - on concerns that it could halt production of its A380 superjumbo in 2018.

Last month, Airbus parted company with the head of its military programme after governments including Germany, France and Turkey complained about delays to the A400M military transport plane.

Built at a cost of €20bn with orders from several European countries, the A400M was a fixed-priced contract that hit production problems and cost-overruns.

Mr Enders said Airbus was making "good progress on giving customers more visibility on the delivery and status of the military transporter".

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