Airbus Q1 core earnings down 5 pct, confirms targets

PARIS, May 13 (Reuters) - Airbus Group (Berlin: AIR.BE - news) posted a narrower-than-expected 5 percent drop in core earnings on Tuesday, despite lower aircraft deliveries and higher research and development spending, and reaffirmed its financial goals for the year.

The world's second-largest aerospace group after Boeing said its latest jetliner, the A350, was "progressing towards certification" in time for first delivery by the end of the year as planned.

First (Other OTC: FSTC - news) -quarter operating income before one-off items fell 4.6 percent to 700 million euros ($963 million) as revenue rose 5 percent to 12.6 billion.

Airbus Group reported another hefty outflow of cash in the first quarter as it boosts liquidity for major projects. Free cashflow before acquisitions came in at a negative figure of 2 billion euros, though this was less than the unusually weak level of 3.2 billion seen a year earlier.

Analysts were on average expecting the group's underlying quarterly operating income to fall 13.1 percent to 644 million euros on broadly flat revenue of 12.4 billion, according to a poll carried out for Reuters. ($1 = 0.7270 Euros) (Reporting by Tim Hepher and Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by James Regan)