Airbus will continue its high levels of programme and commercial activity in 2013 – targeting new milestones that include the start-up of A350 XWB flight testing, a further ramp-up in A330 production, and the implementation of deliveries for the A400M military airlifter.
Speaking to international journalists at Airbus’ annual New Year’s press conference in Toulouse, France, President and CEO Fabrice Brégier said the next 12 months will continue the progress achieved in 2012, during which Airbus outperformed on its new orders goal and reached a record number of annual new aircraft deliveries.
“Our focus in the coming year will be on speed, agility, simplicity, decision-making and innovation – taking full advantage of the new organisation that we have put in place that retains the integration of Airbus while also empowering our teams,” Brégier told reporters. One of the key Airbus milestones for 2013 will be the A350 XWB’s maiden takeoff – targeted in mid-year, following a successful full electrical power-up of the no. 1 flight test aircraft in December on the Toulouse final assembly line. This aircraft is an A350-900 – the mid-sized member in Airbus’ family of the A350-800, -900 and -1000 versions – and it will be joined by another A350-900 that is to soon begin final assembly line build-up for a maiden flight in the second half of 2013.
The A330 continues its popularity with airline customers and lessors around the world, resulting in a further production output boost to 10 aircraft per month, which will be reached in the second quarter of 2013. This ongoing “success story” at Airbus is further bolstered by the increased 242 metric tonne maximum takeoff weight variant, launched by the company in 2012, which extends the jetliner’s range by 450 nautical miles.
Another important highpoint in 2013 will be the commencement of Airbus Military A400M deliveries. Three of these multi-role airlifters are to be received by the French Air Force during the year, along with one provided for the Turkish Air Force. A total of 13 A400Ms currently are in various phases of production, while the manufacture of parts is underway through aircraft no. 28. “This will be the A400M’s year,” explained Brégier. “Its maturity was underscored in 2012 by the logging of 300 flight hours in sequence during 26 days as part of the aircraft’s functionality and reliability tests.”
For commercial activity in 2013, Brégier said Airbus has set the top-level goal of booking some 700 new sales for its commercial jetliner families, along with 30 orders for the military aircraft product line. At least 600 jetliner deliveries are planned for this year, to be complemented by at least 28 military aircraft. Airbus’ recruiting drive will continue in 2013, as 3,000 new hires are planned worldwide – which follows the approximately 10,000 employees added during 2011-2012.
“The people are what count at Airbus, and it is our management’s responsibility to obtain the best from our various teams as we work toward our goals in 2013 and beyond,” Brégier concluded. “We are paying significant attention to managing our people, selecting our executives, promoting our young talent, and bringing ways to engage our employees around the globe.”
For additional information on Airbus’ 2012 performance and 2013 outlook:
• Read the year-in-review press release.
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