Troubled planemaker Airbus yesterday said it was "well on track" to meet its full year delivery target of 430 planes, and that its plants are coping well with raised output rates for planes in its A320 family and long-range A330/A340 family.
The company said it had received firm orders for 107 planes in the third quarter, of which 92 were in the A320 family. The average list price of A320 family planes is 65 million euros (#44 million), although discounts are widespread.
Airbus delivered 37 planes in September. This was up substantially from exports of 15 planes in August and 19 in July, figures that the Finance Ministry reported as part of French trade balance data Tuesday.
Airbus said it will raise its output of planes in the A320 group to 34 per month by late 2007 from the current 32.
A spokeswoman said the data released yesterday was still valid despite being dated September and completed early last week, about the same time a restructuring was adopted and prior to the top management shakeup that put EADS co-chief executive Louis Gallois in the Airbus chief executive position as well.
Mr Gallois yesterday visited the European aircraft maker's largest plant in Germany, amid fears of looming job cuts as the company struggles to get its A380 superjumbo project back on track.
Airbus has insisted Mr Gallois' tour of the Hamburg plant is part of an initial visit, coming four days after he took over from Christian Streiff, who resigned as Airbus chief executive after just three months in the job.
Mr Gallois, aged 62, said that Airbus will not reach a decision on any restructuring of its manufacturing sites for several months.
On Thursday he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that any cost cuts to be made partly as a result of delays to its A380 superjumbo would be spread equally between all four countries affected.
"I don't believe that one can demand, for example, that the Germans pay for the French or vice versa. One must find a good balance," he added.
On Wednesday, France and Spain expressed anxiety about the restructuring plans amid speculation that thousands of jobs would go. Spain - a minority partner in Airbus parent EADS - said it wanted to raise its stake to safeguard jobs.
And the German government said it would ensure any job cuts were shared fairly after Bild newspaper reported that Airbus wanted to sell five German plants. But in the newspaper interview, Gallois reiterated that no decisions about specific sites had yet been taken, and that such decisions might take months.
His visit to Hamburg came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ministers were due to meet with President Jacques Chirac and the French Cabinet in Paris, where the ongoing crisis at Airbus, and the impact on its parent company EADS, were e xpected to dominate discussions.
Meanwhile, a British transatlantic luxury airline which will be challenging two American rivals is to start flights in January, it was announced yesterday.
Operating all-business class flights, Silverjet will begin services between Luton and Newark, close to New York, on January 25.
Silverjet will be competing with two American allbusiness class carriers - Eos and MAXjet - which operate to A merica from Stansted airport.
Silverjet chief executive Lawrence Hunt said: "This is a very exciting time for the transatlantic airline market. For the first time in history, a British all-business class low-fare airline will take to the skies and will launch in record time.
"Silverjet is set to revolutionise the long-haul business travel market.
"Flying out of Luton, London's least congested airport, our customers, for an average #999 fare, will be able to fly through check-in in 30 minutes, sleep in an award-winning luxury flat bed and enjoy pre-ordered food.