By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus (AIR.PA) delivered 800 aircraft last year, tentatively reaching a key industrial target that just weeks ago seemed out of reach of the efforts it was deploying to overcome the supply chain challenges and challenges faced by the mills in meeting the record demand for jet aircraft.

The European planner has issued an unscheduled statement to confirm this figure after his shares jumped 6% after the Reuters announcement that the goal had been reached after the last audit by the bank. # 39; listener.

Airbus "confirms having made 800 deliveries of commercial aircraft in 2018, subject to the completion of the audit process," the company said.

Despite record demand, shipments are under scrutiny this year as the aerospace industry faces increasing tension in the supply chain, particularly among engine manufacturers who have failed. to maintain deliveries as well as expected.

Deliveries are also a key driver of revenue and cash flow and contribute significantly to operating profit.

Airbus narrowly avoided its first missed delivery goal only after a frantic New Year's Eve activity and after releasing it in November due to a shortage of engines.

It also managed to cross the threshold with the help of an undetermined number of Bombardier jets belonging to a defective Canadian jet program acquired in mid-2018. .

His American rival Boeing (BA.N) also experienced industrial problems, thus missing his target for 2018 of 810-815 deliveries by 4 aircraft, even though he had recorded larger orders than expected and that # He remained the world's largest builder of planners for a seventh year.

Airbus has announced that it will announce the final figures Wednesday, two days ahead of schedule.

The record number of Airbus deliveries increased by 9% compared to 2017.

This followed days of speculation and stock price volatility over whether Airbus had achieved the profit target even after cutting it by 1% in November.

The shares of the European planning firm fell sharply last week after earlier signs that it was unlikely that Airbus would reach the target, including the loss of 9 jet planes.

Industry sources then said that they did not rule out that Airbus would spark a positive surprise thanks to the compilation of the numbers.

The Airbus share closed up 3.7%.

Airbus hopes to announce net orders higher than deliveries, following a campaign to win new business at the end of the year and concerns about a slowdown in the aerospace cycle, sources said. However, it is unlikely that Boeing's net sales will be equal to 893 even with the help of orders for the new integrated A220 Canadian jet.

The so-called book-to-bill ratio is an indicator of the strength of future activities, but the final data depend on the fact that the auditors also sign a wave of last minute order activity.

(Report by Tim Hepher, edited by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)