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.
Airbus and Yemenia Airlines yesterday morning signed a memorandum of understanding covering 10 Airbus A320s, the first of which the official carrier of Yemen expects to arrive in Sanaa in 2011. On hand for the signing ceremonies, Yemenia board member Saleh Alawaji said the airplanes would replace some of the airline’s aging A310s and fill a gap in capacity while it waits for delivery of the first of 10 A350s by the end of 2015.
Notwithstanding the continued gloomy financial projections for the air transport industry by groups such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airbus predicts the size of the world’s airliner fleet will more than double over the next 20 years, from around 14,000 now to 28,100 in 2028, according to European manufacturer’s new Global Market Forecast published in London on September 17.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes has begun to study the possibility of fitting the 777 with a redesigned wing in an effort to more effectively compete against the Airbus A350XWB-1000. Although BCA chief executive Scott Carson said at this month’s Paris Air Show that “nothing is decided,” a re-winged 777 could offer an alternative to the still un-launched 787-10, the so-called double stretch of the baseline 787-8.
Calling Boeing’s 787 “probably the most subsidized airplane ever,” Airbus CEO Thomas Enders nevertheless feels comfortable with the €11 billion ($15 billion) that, on his own admission, European governments have committed to launching the A350XWB.