The production of the A400M transporter has been marred by delays
European aerospace group EADS, the parent company of Airbus, made a profit of 1.57bn euros ($2bn; £1.45bn) in 2008 despite the uncertain economic climate.
In 2007, EADS made a loss of 446m euros. The firm said it expected 2009 profits to be lower than 2008's amid doubts about future aircraft demand.
Airbus delivered a record 483 aircraft in 2008, beating main rival Boeing.
However, EADS said that setbacks in the production of its A400M military transporter would continue.
The A400M's first flight has been postponed because of problems with its engines.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, EADS made a net profit of 490m euros, up 89% from a year earlier.
EADS said the robust profits were in part down to cost cutting.
"We made significant headway in reshaping the company," said Louis Gallois, EADS chief executive.
Although 2009 would be "challenging", he said that 2009 profits would be "significantly positive".
Unlike many companies that have been forced to cut payments to shareholders because of the economic downturn, EADS said it would pay a dividend of 0.20 euros per share, up from 0.12 euros a year ago.