EADS has reported a stronger-than-expected first quarter profit, boosted by higher production of passenger jets and helicopters.

The results also benefited from a down-payment for the A400M military airlifter, the company says.

EADS posted a net profit of €285m for the first quarter of 2008, compared with a loss of €10m in the same period last year.

In the previous five quarters, EADS has been in the red four times.

Operating profit was €769m, up from €88m, while quarterly revenues rose ten percent to €9.853bn.

EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois says the results are “encouraging”.

“Though many serious challenges have been overcome there remains much to do in order to secure the significant and lasting improvement in operational performance we are targeting,” he says.

The weak dollar is impacting EADS’s finances, as the company sells its products in dollars, but pays its bills in euros.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh