Toulouse (France): European aerospace giant Airbus Group on Wednesday reported record performances last year and a jump in net profit despite unexpected costs for a new airliner and its defence arm.
As air traffic enters a new phase of growth, and airlines queue up to re-equip their fleets with new and more efficient aircraft, the baseline figures are huge.
Airbus took orders worth 218.7 billion euros (USD 300.6 billion) last year and the order book is now worth a record 686.7 billion euros.
Net profit rose by 22.0 percent from the 2012 figure to 1.5 billion euros, and operating profit rose by 21.0 percent to 3.6 billion euros.
The company, the main competitor to US aircraft maker Boeing, is based on making airliners but has other big aerospace activities. It said that orders placed with the Space division last year were also strong.
Demand for its medium-range A320 plane was so strong that it had decided to increase production from 42 a month now to 46 in the second quarter of 2016.
The group has outstanding orders for more than 4,200 single-aisle airliners.
Chief executive Tom Enders said in a results statement that in 2013 "we again increased revenues and profits, achieved record aircraft deliveries, the A350 XWB's first flight and initial A400M deliveries."
"Order intake was particularly strong for our Airbus commercial aircraft and provides a solid platform for the future growth of our group."
Group sales in 2013 rose by 5.0 percent to 59.3 billion euros, driven by the high level of deliveries of commercial airliners and by delivery of the first versions of the A400M military transport plane.
The group said it expected to raise sales and profitability by the end of next year.
Last year the group, a vital contributor to the French trade balance, delivered a record number of airliners.
Last month Airbus announced that it took a record 1,503 net orders in 2013, beating Boeing which had 1,355 orders. But it trailed behind Boeing in terms of finished airliners delivered.
Airbus said it raised its operating margin from 5.2 percent of sales in 2012 to 6.0 percent, said it expected a reasonable margin next year, rising to 7.0-8.0 percent in 2015, including costs for the new long-haul A350 aircraft.