PARIS, April 6 (Reuters) – European aircraft maker Airbus (AIR.PA) delivered between 140 and 142 aircraft in the first quarter, up nearly 13% from the same period last year, it said on Wednesday. industrial sources.

Airbus declined to comment ahead of monthly data on orders and deliveries expected on Friday.

The figures imply March deliveries of some 62 jets, at least some of which came from long-term storage, the sources said.

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Airbus is in the midst of planned increases in production of single-aisle aircraft, but faces growing concerns over manufacturing supply chains.

Jefferies analyst Chloe Lemarie this week estimated total quarterly deliveries of 139 planes, but said “production challenges” and demand were on watch.

According to an Airbus court filing related to a dispute with Qatar Airways, in March the aircraft manufacturer was producing 50 narrow-body bodies per month, including 27 A321neos.

It plans to increase that number to 61 per month by the end of 2022, of which 33 will be A321neos, the filing said, adding that the planner ultimately aims to increase production above 70 per month by 2025.

“This is clearly a tough target, and the pressure on suppliers to keep up is high,” he said.

Airbus has so far publicly pledged to increase production to 65 per month by summer 2023, without giving interim steps.

He said he was asking suppliers to be ready for production of 70 per month by the first quarter of 2024, if a decision to increase production again was made, while exploring rates up to 75 by 2025.

QATAR DISPUTE

Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in February that Airbus was on track to hit 65 a month by next summer. Higher rates beyond 2023 were “still in the evaluation phase”.

Analysts say production of the larger A350, which competes in the weaker long-haul market, remains uncertain although Airbus this week reiterated its forecast.

Bloomberg News reported this week that Airbus may delay a planned increase in A350 production due to Russian sanctions and the dispute with Qatar Airways, which is refusing to take A350s in a row due to jet surface damage. .

Airbus has begun efforts to remarket some of the A350s at the center of the dispute to new customers, including Air India, industry sources said.

Airbus declined to comment. Air India did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Airbus has more than 20 A350s on order from Qatar Airways but is revoking them one by one as the airline refuses delivery over safety concerns. So far, three A350s have been canceled by Airbus, which says there are no safety concerns. Read more

Qatar is suing Airbus for $1 billion in A350 compensation, with Airbus counterclaiming to recover millions of dollars in credits related to the original A350 contract.

The two sides will face off in court on Thursday when Qatar Airways seeks to freeze a decision by Airbus to revoke a separate contract to supply A321neos. The conflicting companies disagree on whether the agreements for the two models are contractually linked.

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Additional reporting by Aditi Shah; edited by David Evans and Bernadette Baum

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