Airbus has "solid" results with a record order book

A350 Image copyright Getty Images

Airbus has said it will increase production of its A330 aircraft as it revealed a 15% increase in net profits for 2015 and a record order book.

The firm, which employs around 15,000 in the UK, said it would boost production of its long-range widebody A330 to seven a month in 2017.

It had cut output of the older model in order to move to the new A350.

But it received a boost when Iran agreed to buy 45 A330 jets as part of a $25bn (£17.4bn) deal.

Superjumbo profits

The January deal also included 12 A380 superjumbos, which the company said it had broken even on for the first time.

Chief Executive Tom Enders told the BBC that the company was focused on breaking even, or positive margins:

"I'm confident we can do this because we can further reduce the cost of the A380 and hopefully also get additional orders."

He conceded that new orders for the A380 had been slow in coming, but said the company needed to be patient, and low jet fuel prices were making the A380 "even more attractive for customers".

Airbus, based in France, saw net profits of €2.7bn (£2.1bn).

Last year the European plane maker received orders for 1,080 commercial aircraft.

Brexit question

Airbus has major sites in Filton, near Bristol and Broughton, North Wales where wings for the planes are made and assembled.

When asked about the UK referendum he said that a vote to leave the European Union would not result in Airbus pulling out of the UK, where it has "very important" operations.

However, he could not see "how an exit would improve the competitiveness of British industry".

Mr Enders added that he "could not exclude" the possibility that jobs would be lost in the long-run.

Growing orders

Mr Enders called its results "solid" and said:" The record order book supports our commercial aircraft ramp-up plans and we are driving operational efficiency."

The firm said it expects the world economy and air traffic to grow this year "in line with prevailing independent forecasts and assumes no major disruptions."

It plans to deliver more than 650 planes and expects its commercial order book to continue to grow.

The business also makes corporate and freighter aircraft as well as helicopters and telecommunication satellites.

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