Christopher Emerson, senior vice president of Airbus and head of product strategy and market forecast, is responsible for overseeing Airbus’s Global Market Forecast, which is published annually. At a pre-Dubai Airshow briefing, Emerson offered the following comments about Airbus aircraft:
A350: The aircraft is improving and is efficient today. We have logged almost 600 hours. The program is on track. There are no issues there. He pointed to the “commercial success of the A350 with British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.” The 350-1000 is moving and this is what we had expected.
A330: Since the launch of the 787, we’ve sold more than 800 A330s, compared to 900 B787s. We have been taking the market [from them]. We focus on the regional. That is a market that needs A330s. We have to optimize the aircraft for this marketplace. The A330 is progressing and you’ve seen a recent order with Delta. It will pick up.
A380: When you look at the market, again, the preferences of the passenger [are paramount]. The A380 entered into service one year before the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Five of the last six years [when] the A380 has been operating were during the crisis. Airlines have been taking out seats and ASKs, not adding them, saying to themselves, “I won’t have traffic growth.” We’ve been out of the crisis for six months. What we look for is transition. The growth is going to be there. It’s not a case of “it won’t be there.” It is already the case today. You do have constraints. The A380 momentum will pick up. The industry will continue to grow. We will get back to the mode when the aircraft was launched–where traffic will double every 15 years. “Comfort in economy is important. Seat-width makes a difference,” said Kevin Keniston, Airbus’ head of passenger comfort.