A380 will take off once again, says Airbus
Airbus has reaffirmed their commitment to the A380 “superjumbo” despite slow sales as it announced record annual deliveries of its family of aircraft, according to a report by the Telegraph.
The double-decker A380 airliner has received 319 orders in total, but the lack of new customers over the past few years has led to rumours it may be discontinued.
The company announced at Farnborough Airshow last year that it would cut production to just 12 a year, which is less than half of the 27 produced in 2016.
President of Airbus Fabrice Bregier however believes Airbus’s time will come, quoting that 10% of passengers going through London Heathrow are on the A380.
"What I have to accept is the very slow commercial performance we have with the A380. But there is a future with this aircraft: more airports will become like Heathrow with congestion and this aircraft will have a bigger market share,” said Bregier.
Sales chief John Leahy agreed, saying: “There is no doubt the market is soft at the moment but it is a matter of timing - and I believe it will be sooner rather than later.
“We have to shift to bigger aircraft and all economic indicators point to that. Air traffic doubles every 15 years and there is no more room - I can’t comprehend how the market will be satisfied without bigger aircraft.”
He argued that bigger aircraft is the only viable response to rising passenger numbers.
“China might be able to build new mega airports but you just can’t build another Heathrow or Charles De Gaulle or LAX [Los Angeles International Airport]."
Bregier said the company would break even at the lower production rate and hopes the rate will increase with additional evolutions to the A380 family.
This could mean plans are currently taking place for an even bigger version of the A380.
In 2016, Airbus handed over 688 airliners to customers, up 8% on the 635 recorded in 2015. However, the figure is behind rival Boeing who delivered 748 jetliners last year.
Airbus has also had problems with suppliers failing to deliver components on time and of the right quality in the past. Bregier said the programmes had largely been “de-risked” predicting deliveries to go above 700 in 2017.
Both Boeing and Airbus are keen to break into the Iran market now that sanctions have been lifted after being closed for almost 40 years.
President elect Donald Trump called the agreement between Boeing and Iran “a disgrace, an embarrassment ... one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen negotiated in my entire life”.
Chairman of IranAir Farhad Parvaresh on the other hand called the Airbus deal a “new, magnificent chapter and a bright day for the EU and Iran… that will generate peace and friendship”.
Airbus rose 0.61% to €65.56 at the close on Wednesday.