PARIS 2011: Airbus claims new order record for air shows

Airbus held its wrap-up press confrence at Le Bourget and declared this year’s event to be the best airshow ever in terms of number sold – 730 orders – by any manufacturer at any air show, the previous best having been 728.

“Most of these are purchase orders [418],” confirmed Airbus CEO Tom Enders, “with some [312] being MoUs. The list price value for the aircraft is $72.2 billion, another new show record. And our show figure does not include the firm contract that IndiGo signed as we announced deal some time ago.”

Commenting on the hugely successful week for the A320neo family, Enders stressed, “It was very important that we got to more than 600 by the end of the show.” In fact, the numbers now stand at 1,029 orders and commitments for the family. “If our colleagues in Seattle still believe that the A320neo is still just catching up with the 737, then I have to ask what kind of stuff they are smoking,” Enders bluntly added.

He admitted to being quite shocked at just how well the A320neo family has done so far. “When I went to the board I promised them good orders, but really didn’t believe that it would be a best-seller in six months.”

Although the success of the A320neo had been a personal surprise to Enders, he quickly refuted any idea that there might be a change to Airbus’s schedule for a new aircraft in the single-aisle category. “We’re still looking to beyond 2025. We’ve got a good technology roadmap and believe that after 2025 is when the technology will be available to create an aircraft which significantly improves on the performance of today’s aircraft.”

Enders described the 49th Salon as a “very spontaneous airshow – we’ve even had customers decide on the spot to place orders and many of the deals announced still required work at the beginning of the week.”

With all the orders that have come in, Enders admitted that the company will look to ramp up production from the 42 which scheduled to be reached in 2013.

On the sales front, COO–customers John Leahy reported some A320 slot availability in 2014. Of all the current A320s on order, there have been no conversion of to A320neos. “Some have asked about changing their orders, but the contracts don’t allow for it,” he said.

“For the A320neo slots, we’ve pretty much sold out until around 2018-19,” he commented.

In addition to all the A320neo family orders, the standard A320 family also received 34 commitments worth $2.8 billion at the show. Commitments were also received for 11 A330s worth US$2.4 billion, six A350s worth US$1.6 billion, and 12 A380s worth US$4.5 billion.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/
Paris, France

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