Airbus began an annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday basking in strong demand as rival Boeing grapples with a slew of recent crises, but facing "supply chain challenges".

Shares in the France-based company have risen 16% since the start of the year, while Boeing - dealing with the aftermath of a panel blowout on a 737 MAX 9 - has lost 29%.

Shareholders will vote on a partial renewal of the board and are expected to back a one-euro-per-share special dividend worth almost 800 million euros on top of an unchanged regular payout.

Airbus responded to pressure from investors to return some cash by unveiling the proposed special dividend in February, signalling confidence in its commercial-led business despite taking hefty charges at its troubled Space arm.

The world's largest planemaker is seeing orders from airlines recovering from the pandemic, helping it to build cash reserves in contrast with its rival which is in the midst of management upheaval and debts stemming from earlier crises.

Analysts said the planemaker appeared on track to meet its annual delivery target of 800 aircraft after confirming 142 first-quarter deliveries on Tuesday, as reported by Reuters.

But core single-aisle production is running below internal planning levels at around 50 a month, meaning it must accelerate to meet a target of 75 a month in 2026, industry sources said.

Airbus has said it is on the right path to meet the goal.

Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said Airbus continues to face geopolitical uncertainty and supply chain challenges.

The company faces mounting cost pressures after investing in extra resources to secure the production ramp-up, pushing it above internal projections earlier this year, sources said.

Other possible warning signs of industrial stress include an increase in the amount of time lost to injuries relative to hours worked in the civil business, bucking a more positive trend in the group. Airbus says eradicating the causes of such problems will be a focus this year.

Airbus meanwhile warned shareholders ahead of the Amsterdam meeting that its global duopoly with Boeing was wobbling after China presented its competing C919 jet at the Singapore Airshow and relaunched ambitious plans for a home-grown wide-body jet, the C929, initially planned as a joint project with Russia.

"This ends the period of a duopoly in the mainline commercial aircraft market," Airbus said, while adding that it need not see significant market penetration before the 2030s.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; editing by David Evans)