Some good news from Airbus
Airbus announced at the weekend that it is to go ahead with the launch of the A350XWB Family, with the first aircraft entering service in 2013.
Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation Executive Chairmam, Peter Harbison, stated that “despite Airbus? recent problems with the A380 and concerns about funding a new family, this was a ‘must-do’ decision for its parent, EADS, if Airbus is to retain its competitiveness with Boeing”.
Airbus estimates demand for the category at 5,700 aircraft over the next 20 years, more than 40% by value of all 100+ seaters to be sold in the period, so the European manufacturer would be severely handicapped without this aircraft in its portfolio.
“With the competing B787 scheduled to launch in late 2008, the A350XWB will be a longer term option, which will cost Airbus some orders, making it crucial to attract customers in Asia,” noted Mr Harbison.
Singapore Airlines, a confirmed A380 buyer, has already committed in principle to acquire 20 A350s, with the Chinese Government also on the order book. Chinese airlines, including Cathay Pacific, which is likely to place a major order sometime in 2007, will be the main targets.
Despite the longer wait till 2013, if China can be convinced to back the A350, Airbus has the opportunity to retain its position as a serious competitor,
continued the Centre’s Mr Harbison.
It will be interesting to see what further price China would extract ? for example in terms of local manufacturing ? to help secure Airbus? future,
concluded Mr Harbison.