A350_XWBThe European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) reported first-quarter earnings before markets opened this morning. Airbus, the company's largest division, competes with U.S. aircraft maker Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) for both commercial and military plane sales.

In the first quarter, Boeing posted revenues of $18.9 billion, compared with sales totaling $16.23 billion at EADS. Boeing's net earnings totaled $1.1 billion, compared with about $315.8 million at EADS. Boeing's earnings per share (EPS) totaled $1.44 in the first quarter, compared with EPS of $0.38 at EADS.

And both companies have their problems. Boeing's problems are well-known: long delays in the delivery of the company's 787 Dreamliner and an electrical system problem that kept the all 787s grounded for three months. At EADS, similar delays stalled delivery of the Airbus A350 XWB, which is just about to enter flight testing after the first plane got a nifty paint job.

The big issue for EADS - and Airbus - is that it is bleeding cash. The company's free cash flow in the first quarter was negative - about $4.15 billion negative. The company is burning through cash as it prepares to manufacture the A350, a military transport, and its A380 jumbo jet. The company expects to get its free cash flow back at break-even for the year.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Aerospace, Earnings Tagged: BA

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