Airbus posts record deliveries in 2017

16 January, 2018, 01:32 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • In the last month of 2017 Airbus booked 776 aircraft sales net of cancellations including a $50 billion deal for 430 narrow-body aircraft initially announced in November at the Dubai Air Show

Emirates was widely expected to place an order for 50 of the world's biggest passenger airliner at the Dubai Air Show previous year but this failed to come.

If Emirates does not order the aircraft, he believes there will be "no choice but to shut down the programme".

The minimum number it said it would build in a year is six.

The A380 drew worldwide attention when launched a decade ago but has always struggled to win enough customers.

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While it would be premature to write the A380's obituary, there is little doubt that the double-decker plane - once touted as the future of aviation - has been an enormous disappointment and a financial disaster for Airbus, the most formidable competitor to Boeing in the passenger aeroplane market.

Emirates declined to issue an immediate comment.

The planemaker, based in Toulouse, France, also reported that it delivered 718 planes in 2017, fewer than Boeing's 763 but still a record for Airbus. In fact, orders for two planes were canceled.

"The challenge will be to maintain at least this level in the years to come" before customers start placing replacement orders for the A380s they now have in service, and "potential new markets" start opening up, he said. The company said it had a backlog of orders worth US$1.1 billion. December's sales breakthrough focused mainly on the bread and butter of Airbus's portfolio, the medium-haul A320 family, which competes with Boeing's best-selling 737 series.

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Leahy said he is convinced that larger aircraft still have a future, because airlines will need bigger planes as demand for air travel grows. "This is an aeroplane whose time will come".

On Monday, Airbus' outgoing chief operating officer, Fabrice Brégier, said "there are clearly other potential customers beyond Emirates".

So far, the A380 has cost Airbus €18 billion to €20 billion, and the company says it needs to build at least six a year for the program to remain viable.

"They are probably the only one who has the ability right now", Leahy said.

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