Airbus earns 3,789 million in 2023, down 11%, affected by the Defense division


Airbus posted an 11% decline in earnings in 2023, totaling €3,789 million, a figure negatively impacted by various charges in its Defense and Space division. This result was mainly affected by a €600 million provision associated with its OneSat telecommunications satellite program and by a series of incidents and delays in the development of the new Ariane 6 rocket, whose maiden launch has been postponed until mid-2024.

During the presentation of the annual results, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury acknowledged that previous cost estimates turned out to be more optimistic than reality, requiring significant adjustments. Despite these challenges, Faury highlighted the achievement of a robust order backlog and described the OneSat program as "fantastic", evidencing a positive approach towards the future of the space business, although he acknowledged the strong pressure faced by this division.

The performance of the Defense and Space division contrasts with that of other areas of Airbus, such as commercial aircraft and helicopters, which reported improved results. Specifically, Defense and Space's adjusted net operating income fell by 40% to €229 million.

The main challenge for Ariane 6 now is to achieve a successful market debut. Faury stressed the importance of successfully carrying out the first flight of the Ariane 6, scheduled between June 15 and July 31, 2024, after several postponements. Facing competition from operators such as Elon Musk's Falcon X, Faury expressed confidence in the future success of Ariane 6, noting the importance of increasing the production cadence to fulfill contracts already acquired for satellite launches.

Despite the delays and challenges, Airbus maintains plans for 9 to 10 flights per year with the Ariane 6, with 28 launches already in its backlog. These challenges highlight the complexity and competitive nature of the aerospace industry, as well as Airbus' determination to overcome obstacles and consolidate its position in the space launch market.

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