AMSTERDAM (AP) — Airbus booked a record profit of 4.2 billion euros ($4.8 billion) last year as the aircraft maker delivered more planes with the global economy rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic.
It is the first annual profit for the Toulouse, France, manufacturer since 2018, before the spread of COVID-19 reduced air travel to levels not seen in the jet era.
The delivered 611 commercial aircraft in 2021, up from 566 the year before. It’s an important source of cash for aircraft manufacturers, driving revenue of 52.1 billion euros ($59.2 billion) for Airbus last year.
And the company expects to carry that momentum through 2022, forecasting Thursday that it will deliver 720 commercial aircraft this year.
Orders were also robust in its helicopter and defense and space businesses.
CEO Guillaume Faury said “2021 was a year of transition, where our attention shifted from navigating the pandemic towards recovery and growth.”
Accentuating that point, Faury said Airbus plans to reintroduce a dividend of 1.50 euro ($1.70) per share, its first in two years.
The company recently canceled Qatar Airways orders for several planes amid a dispute over the quality of paint and surfaces on some Airbus jets. The Middle Eastern carrier is suing Airbus in a London court.
The spat has benefited U.S. rival Boeing, with Qatar announcing that it plans to order Boeing 737 Max jets instead.