Airbus maintains its market leadership

Airbus’ strong commercial performance at this week’s Farnborough Airshow underscores the value of its modern and efficient aircraft product line – especially during today’s challenging times for airlines around the world.

17 July 2008

“Air transport will continue to grow, there also will be a need for the replacement of older aircraft,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers, at a Farnborough wrap-up press conference today. “Airbus aircraft will continue to help the world’s airlines do more with less, especially in the current economic environment.” 

The 256 orders and commitments announced during the Farnborough Airshow came from 10 customers. They represent an order book value of $40.5 billion at catalogue prices, which further reinforces the market position of Airbus’ single-aisle and widebody aircraft product lines. 

For the A320 Family, the 128 new firm orders revealed at Farnborough demonstrate the standard-setting role maintained by this single-aisle market leader. Leahy said total A320 Family orders represent about 2,600 aircraft in Airbus’ overall order backlog of nearly 3,700 jetliners. 

“We’ve sold 325 A320 Family aircraft during the first six months of this year – to which we added the 128 new firm orders announced here at Farnborough, so it’s clear this airplane continues to set the standards,” Leahy said. 

To keep the market edge, Airbus is spending about 100 million euros annually on improvements and further evolution for A320 Family aircraft, including the development of a new passenger cabin interior, improvements in aerodynamics and a weight savings project. In addition, the A320 fleet’s longevity will be further assured with the new A320/A321 freighter conversion programme, for which the first launch customer was announced at Farnborough. 

With the A320 Family’s continued strength, Leahy said the development of a follow-on jetliner should take some 10 years. “We think this industry deserves a quantum change for the all-new airplane that would succeed the very successful A320 Family – and that will take us out to somewhere around 2020,” he added.

Airbus’ A330 jetliner remains the leading product in its twin-aisle market segment, with 11 new firm orders announced this week at the Farnborough Airshow. The continued market demand for A330s in both passenger and freighter versions is spurring a step-up in production, accelerating from the current output of eight aircraft per month to a new volume of 11 aircraft monthly.

The all-new A350 XWB also received a strong market endorsement during Farnborough, with this week’s 98 newly-announced firm orders taking total sales for the aircraft to 472 from 27 customers. “I’m especially proud of this performance for an airplane that will be delivering five years from now,” Leahy stated. 

At the top end of Airbus’ product line, its 21st century flagship A380 brought in more business with the 10 bookings announced during Farnborough. This brings combined firm orders to 198, which have been received from 16 customers. 

The A380 is building on its successful commercial service introduction with Singapore Airlines, which has now taken delivery of five aircraft, and Emirates planning to begin operations in August after receiving its initial A380 on 28 July.

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