Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier told reporters at the Dubai Airshow he still has no feeling of urgency when it comes to develop an A380neo, although Emirates chief executive Tim Clark was recently quoted urging the manufacturer to move forward with the program. “As soon as you can fill a 615-passenger A380, you have the most competitive aircraft in the world and you do not need a neo,” Brégier said.
He does not worry that airlines may wait for the A380neo instead of ordering the current A380. “The customers we are talking to [about a potential A380 order] have urgent needs, they do not want to wait until 2025,” he asserted.
Brégier expects other A380 orders, including one by year-end, to come before the launch of the A380neo. He nevertheless made it clear “there is a very good chance” Airbus will launch the program eventually. But he does not want to jeopardize the company's investment capacity for an aircraft that only accounts “for 10 to 15 percent of our business,” he said.
In this region, only Emirates has pushed Airbus in that direction so far. “Other airlines could be interested but this would be premature, too,” Brégier said.
On the A350 XWB program, he suggested a version that could be designed beyond the in-development A350-1000 would be longer, to accommodate more seats than the current 366 (in a typical three-class arrangement). But the range, currently at 7,900 nm, would not change. The main question mark remains whether there would be a market for such an evolution.