Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier yesterday dismissed talk of an impending air transport slump in the Asia Pacific market, insisting instead that conditions have never appeared healthier. Speaking at the company’s opening press conference yesterday alongside Airbus COO for customers John Leahy, Bregier said he saw little justification for the dour projections.
“I think it is clear that there are tensions around the world, and so people try to project a future impact on air traffic,” said Bregier. “As a matter of fact, we don’t see it. Our competitors don’t see it. Our customers don’t see it. They have never been so healthy. This is the reality, and they are planning for more efficient aircraft for deliveries that go well beyond 2020.”
Leahy added that unless an economic slump that rivals that of 2008 and 2009 surfaces, no one should expect anything other than continued buoyancy in the region. “The key is that we’re tracking the world economy very well,” he said. “So if you do want to predict that next year the world will go into a major recession like 2008, 2009, I can assure you air traffic will go down, and then people will call up and say, ‘I want to defer orders.’ But if that doesn’t happen...then things are perfectly fine during that period.”
Leahy insisted that even when Airbus increases narrowbody production to 60 airplanes a month in mid-2019, it still won’t fully satisfy the demand the company sees today. “My fear is not being able to build the aircraft we sold,” he quipped. Leahy also insisted that he has experienced “nothing outside the normal course of business” in terms of talks over delivery postponements. “No, we’re not getting calls from people like 2008 saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in trouble, I can’t make payments, I need to move an airplane’...absolutely not,” said Leahy.
Addressing the widebody market, Leahy confirmed that Airbus (Stand J23, Chalet CD19) has started studying a 40-seat stretch of the A350-1000, but that what he characterized as weak sales figures for Boeing’s 777X over the past two years confirms no immediate need for such a move.
In single-aisles, Airbus plans to deliver the second A320neo to India’s Indigo “in the coming weeks,” said Bregier.
Overall in the Asia Pacific region, Airbus last year won net orders for 421 aircraft from 17 airlines/lessors, representing 39 percent of the company’s net intake in 2015. Meanwhile, the manufacturer delivered 232 new aircraft to 40 operators across the region, either directly or through leasing companies. That accounted for 44 percent of its total output of 635 for the year.