By Mauro Orru 

Airbus SE delivered more aircraft than expected last year, retaining its crown as the world's biggest commercial-aircraft maker.

The European plane maker said Monday that it had delivered 611 commercial aircraft in 2021, above its full-year target of 600 and an improvement on the 566 jets it delivered in 2020.

December deliveries amounted to 93 aircraft, compared with 58 in November and 36 in October.

The result means Airbus remains the world's biggest commercial-aircraft maker. Through November, its main rival Boeing Co. had delivered 302 aircraft to customers. Boeing hasn't yet reported deliveries for the full year.

"The year saw significant orders from airlines worldwide, signaling confidence in the sustainable growth of air travel post-Covid," Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said.

"While uncertainties remain, we are on track to lift production through 2022 to meet our customers' requirements. At the same time, we are preparing the future of aviation, transforming our industrial capabilities and implementing the roadmap for decarbonization," Mr. Faury added.

Mr. Faury flagged at the company's quarterly earnings in October that hiccups in its supply chain would have an impact on deliveries. Still, he said he didn't expect the disruption to prevent the company from reaching its annual target.

Airbus also said Monday that it had booked 771 gross new commercial orders last year.

The announcement comes as Airbus pushes for a swift return to its pre-pandemic production rates. The company outlined plans last year to increase production of its A320 family of aircraft to 64 jets a month by the second quarter of 2023, up from around 45 a month now, before potentially increasing that rate to 75 a month.

Airbus recently won deals to sell scores of single-aisle jets to Dutch carrier KLM and Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd., prying away two of Boeing's most loyal customers.

The orders marked two major losses for Boeing, as the U.S. plane maker tries to rebuild its order backlog for the 737 MAX after the aircraft's long grounding following two fatal crashes.


Write to Mauro Orru at; @MauroOrru94


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 10, 2022 12:42 ET (17:42 GMT)

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