PARIS - Air traffic is on course to break above pre-pandemic levels buoyed by a rebound in Chinese traffic after extended lockdowns, Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said on Wednesday.
"The reopening of China is proving to be a strong driver of air traffic as it progressively recovers, and all regions should now converge towards normalised levels or even higher levels than before COVID," he told a shareholder meeting monitored by webcast.
The head of the world's largest planemaker voiced disappointment, however, with the speed of recovery of supply chains, telling shareholders Airbus had not been satisfied with deliveries that fell below company forecasts last year.
Company chairman Rene Obermann kicked off the Amsterdam meeting urging European nations to "get their act together" on their quest for strategic autonomy amid the conflict in Ukraine.
France-based Airbus is a major European defence contractor with a stake in Eurofighter combat jets as well the future Franco-German-Spanish FCAS air combat system.
Russia's invasion of its neighbour in February 2022 has fuelled extra defence spending and rekindled a debate over Europe's dependence on the United States for its security.
Airbus named former Rolls Royce aerospace division chief Tony Wood to its board, mirroring a similar position held by former GE Aviation chief David Joyce at Boeing.
Analysts say the two planemakers are increasingly aligned with their respective wide-body engine suppliers, though engine makers supply multiple platforms and GE has a key role on both narrowbody brands through a joint venture with Safran.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Mark Potter)