A late surge in new airliner orders during December took Airbus’s sales tally for 2010 to 644 aircraft (compared with 574 in 2009), just edging out rival Boeing’s total orders for 625 airliners last year.
Airbus is mulling a fourth A320 engine option as a tactic in its single-aisle product strategy, which is expected to lead to an all-new design for service entry in 2025 or soon after.
The latest member of the Airbus A330 family is the Series 200F cargo variant, which was launched in early 2007 and is scheduled for mid-2010 entry into service with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Crystal Cargo. The manufacturer had taken orders from 11 customers for 66 A330Fs by May this year, as it also continued to develop the established passenger variant.
New competitors in the single-aisle airliner market have driven Airbus to look beyond current technologies to identify the required characteristics for an A320-series replacement to enter service in 15 or more years.
According to Airbus Corporate Jets, as business jet use becomes more widespread in mainland China the aircraft will make an important contribution to further expanding the exporting country’s economy. “When a company uses a corporate jet, the productivity of its executives is multiplied, allowing them to manage the business more effectively,” Airbus COO for customers John Leahy said.
Airbus COO for customers John Leahy remains optimistic, even when faced with no increase in deliveries of new aircraft in 2010; one man’s zero growth is another’s stable marketplace. Airliner shipments have climbed steadily since 2002 as the European manufacturer’s order backlog (and that of U.S. competitor Boeing) soared on the back of the past economic cycle.
The single-aisle product strategy revealed this month by Airbus marks the first public move in what promises to be a fascinating duel with Boeing to provide new designs to replace many thousands of 150-seat, single-aisle airliners. But do not look for new production lines any time soon.
All the speculation and chatter over the prospects of re-engining the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737s families will finally end this year, judging by statements from senior Airbus and Boeing executives this month. In fact, John Leahy, Airbus COO for customers, went so far as to say that his company would like to decide whether or not to proceed with a re-engining project by the time the Farnborough Air Show opens in July.
Airbus hopes to reach a decision on an engine replacement option for the A320 family in time for this summer’s Farnborough airshow, according to company COO for customers John Leahy.
Although Airbus CEO Thomas Enders “certainly didn’t come [to the Dubai Airshow] with expectations of a miracle,” the German executive sounded a rather upbeat tone during the company’s main press conference in which he and Airbus COO for customers John Leahy issued an overview of the company’s performance this year and prospects for 2010.