Airbus' presence at this week's FIDAE air show in Santiago, Chile underscored the company's growing success in Latin America, where nearly 370 Airbus aircraft currently are flying with 22 airlines - representing some 42 percent of the total in-service fleet.
FIDAE also provided Airbus the opportunity to showcase its all-new A330-200F cargo aircraft to regional customers. The freighter attracted a steady flow of visitors - including airline executives and international press - to the static display area during its three- day participation at this biennial aviation gathering.
"We received very positive feedback from customers, who are really looking for a new cargo aircraft in the market," said Cyrille Picard, Senior Market Analyst for Airbus' A330/A340 jetliner family. "They were very impressed with the performance and capabilities of the A330-200F to carry large payloads, and understand the significant potential of this aircraft."
According to Picard, the freighter's main deck - with its large cargo door open - provided one of the best views of the displays at FIDAE, which took place amid sunny skies and warm temperatures. The no. 1 A330-200F arrived for the event at Santiago's Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport on 22 March carrying medicine, clothing and other humanitarian aid for those affected by the 27 February Chilean earthquake.
Also at FIDAE, Airbus unveiled a regional market forecast that anticipates a Latin American need for more than 1,600 aircraft over the next 20 years to keep pace with an expected passenger growth rate of 5.8 per cent - which is above the global average. Particularly robust is Chile's air traffic growth, which is 47 per cent above 2000 levels - almost twice the traffic growth for all of Latin America.
The requirements for commercial cargo airlift in the region also should create the demand for some 200 freighters, composed of both new-built and converted aircraft. Airbus' A330-200F is well suited for operations in the region, with the non-stop range capability to serve cities throughout the marketplace and beyond while carrying a full payload of 70 tonnes.
The company has seen its most successful commercial period in Latin America during the past five years - with 300 aircraft sold, and a record backlog of over 200 aircraft to be delivered to customers in the region. Airbus has won approximately 60 per cent of aircraft orders in Latin America since 1998, highlighted by recent major contracts with TAM of Brazil, Salvadoran airline TACA, and Chile's LAN.