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French group Safran maintains forecasts as Q1 sales fall 38%

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PARIS, April 30 (Reuters) - French aero engine and equipment maker Safran on Friday reported a 38% drop in first-quarter revenues, but maintained full-year forecasts that include a narrower 2-4% drop in sales.

March airline traffic showed signs of improvement after stalling in January and February. It remains weak in Europe and Asia outside China and uncertainty remains over the speed of recovery in medium-haul airplane capacity, the company said.

Safran, which has warned of a delayed recovery to the market for engine services, said its widely watched civil aftermarket revenue fell 53.4% in dollar terms in the first quarter.

Total revenues fell 37.9% to 3.342 billion euros ($4.1 billion) from 5.383 billion. Safran's seats business was "strongly impacted" by the COVID-19 pandemic that has sharply reduced long-haul air travel.

Safran co-produces engines for the Boeing 737 MAX family and competes with Pratt & Whitney on the Airbus A320neo in the busiest segment of the jetliner market. It also makes equipment from landing gear to galleys for several models.

The quarterly revenue announcement came as Safran, MTU Aero Engines of Germany and Spain's ITP Aero reached an agreement to produce, develop and support an engine for a new European combat jet, the Future Combat Air System.

($1 = 0.8253 euros) (Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)