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UPDATE 2-Airbus deliveries fell by a third to 20 jets in January

(Adds analyst quote, para 7)

By Tim Hepher and Federica Mileo

PARIS, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Airbus deliveries fell by a third to 20 airplanes in January compared to 30 in the same month last year, the company said on Tuesday, confirming an earlier Reuters report.

The European planemaker also said in a monthly operational update that it sold 37 airplanes in January, or a net total of 36 after the cancellation of one A320neo.

Detailed Airbus data showed that the cancellation came from Viva Air Colombia, a subsidiary of Irelandia Aviation.

New orders included a previously announced decision by Delta Air Lines to exercise options for 12 more A220-300s.

Last week's settlement of a long-running paint and safety dispute with Qatar Airways, under which Airbus will reinstate 73 orders that it had revoked, is not yet reflected in the figures.

Although January is typically a slow month, the drop in deliveries comes as Airbus slows the pace of planned production increases due in part to the limited availability of engines.

"This represents a soft start for the year in terms of deliveries," Jefferies analyst Chloe Lemarie said in a note.

Reuters reported last month that Airbus has embarked on a cautious strategy based on a 2023 delivery goal unlikely to be significantly above the 720 units originally slated for 2022.

Airbus eventually lowered then abandoned that goal in 2022 as supply chain and industrial pressures began to bite harder than expected. It made 663 industrial deliveries for the year or 661 after a Russia sanctions-related adjustment.

Industry sources have said the shallower "hockey stick" recovery would allow Airbus' COVID-hobbled supply chain to reset and prepare a more reliable catch-up from mid-decade. Some analysts nonetheless expect Airbus to grow solidly this year.

Airbus is due to give its first forecasts for 2023 with its annual results on Feb. 16. (Editing by GV De Clercq and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)