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Flight simulator maker CAE's profit halves as pandemic weighs on demand

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A pedestrian walks past CAE Inc. head office in Montreal.
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(Reuters) - Canada's CAE Inc on Friday reported a 50% drop in third-quarter profit, as pandemic-battered air travel weighed on demand for the company's full-flight simulators and pilot training.

CAE, which produces flight simulators for planemakers Boeing Co and Airbus, however, expects to see an uptick in training contracts as more people get vaccinated and resume air travel.

CAE Chief Executive Marc Parent told analysts the company is ramping up training for Boeing's 737 MAX as the jet returns to the skies in the United States and other countries after a near two-year grounding.

CAE has sold 53 MAX simulators and delivered 41 to date, including five in the company's network, he said.

The world's largest civil aviation training specialist said its net income attributable to shareholders fell to C$48.8 million ($38.3 million), or 18 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from C$97.7 million, or 37 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Montreal-based CAE said deliveries of flight simulators fell to 10 units in the third quarter, from 12 units a year earlier. Revenue fell to C$832.4 million from C$923.5 million in the year-ago period.

CAE stock was down 1% at C$32.12 a share in afternoon trading in Toronto.

($1 = 1.2745 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Shreyasee Raj in Bengaluru and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Steve Orlofsky)