Airbus Has No Whitetail Aircraft Left

Whitetail aircraft are often a worrying sign. Their ongoing existence can imply that they have been produced without a carrier in place to deploy them. Airbus had several of these at the height of the pandemic, causing concerns for the European planemaker. Nonetheless, the firm this week confirmed that there are no longer any whitetails at its facilities.

Airbus A320
Manufacturers wouldn’t want to be seeing sights like this on the same aircraft for too long. Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

Overcoming the hurdles

Simple Flying was in attendance at MAKS-2021 in Russia on Tuesday, where Airbus EVP, Head of Region & Sales Europe Wouter Van Wersch spoke about his company’s position heading into industry recovery. The businessperson explained that at the peak of the crisis, Airbus had more than a handful of whitetail aircraft. Notably, Airbus had cut down production and airlines stopped flying amid the wider complications during this period.

Despite the setbacks, Airbus still managed to deliver 566 aircraft. This may not have been the outstanding figure that had been achieved in previous years. However, given the circumstances, it wasn’t the worst in the ten years up until that point.

Despite the challenges, Airbus was still able to pump out hundreds of aircraft last year. Photo: Getty Images

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A demand was still there

Many airlines opted to renegotiate delivery schedules amid the impact of the pandemic. However, Airbus affirms that numerous customers needed their aircraft there and then. Thus, with a refined focus, the company was able to balance production.

Last month, there were fewer than five whitetails left stranded, but Airbus’ management has now confirmed that the company is now fully up to date when it comes to buyers of its produced units. This will undoubtedly be one less worry off the manufacturer’s back amid the industry difficulties over the last year and a half.

Aeroflot Airbus A320 Getty
More carriers are taking in different Airbus types in their fleets. Photo: Getty Images

Ramping up again

Altogether, the productivity balance is thanks to strong preparation from the beginning. As soon as the pandemic began to take its toll on the market, Airbus regrouped as a company.

“From an Airbus perspective, we sat down and took the decision to reduce our production rates,” Van Wersch shared at MAKS-2021.

“We also looked at our backlog. We reached out to our customers to discuss the future and how we would resolve the crisis.”

The carrier is set to steer ahead of 2020’s figures. It made 77 deliveries to 44 customers last month, accounting for 25% of deliveries made to date this year. In total, from the start of 2021 till the end of June, Airbus made 297 deliveries to 67 customers. Looking at these numbers, the business is acting on its previous statements that it will gear up production.

What are your thoughts about Airbus no longer having any whitetail aircraft at its facilities? What do you make of the company’s journey over the last year and a half amid the challenges of the pandemic? Let us know what you think of the overall situation in the comment section.