To meet ever-growing demand for passenger airplanes in China, Airbus officials say they expect to sell 50 newly developed A380s – currently the largest passenger plane in the world – to the Chinese market…
To meet ever-growing demand for passenger airplanes in China, Airbus officials say they expect to sell 50 newly developed A380s – currently the largest passenger plane in the world – to the Chinese market, a top company official mentioned.
John Leahy, chief commercial officer of the European airplane manufacturer, said China is expected to need 1,600 airplanes in the next 20 years.
While 129 A380s have been sold worldwide, we are hopeful that by the 2008 Beijing Olympics some A380s will be flying in Chinese colours Leahy said.
Airbus`s major competitor, US-based Boeing, is also eyeing the promising Chinese market, which it predicts will need more than 2,300 airplanes in the next two decades. That places China as the second largest airplane market in the world,after the United States.
The different numbers forecast by the two manufacturers are a result of Airbus not including aircraft with the capacity to seat fewer than 100 passengers, Leahy explained.
The Airbus executive made the remarks in Guangzhou yesterday where he signed a contract with China Southern Airlines, one of the country`s top three carriers, striking a deal for four mid- and long-range A330-200s produced by Airbus. The pact is part of the General Terms Agreement signed by China Aviation Supplies Group with Airbus in April, which involved a bulk order of 30 Airbus airplanes.
By making its debut on the Chinese mainland, the A330-200 will represent Europe`s surging 330/340 aircraft family. Airbus has already booked more than 800 orders worldwide.
Airbus officials say they are proud that the 330/340 family has achieved an 85 per cent share in the medium passengeraircraft market. In particular, the A330-200 is dwarfing Boeing`s B767 in sales orders, and is forcing the Chicago-based competitor to design a new aircraft, the B7E7.
Airbus executives say they are not at all worried about the paper airplane that is yet to be put into production. The earliest launch year for the 7E7, Leahy said, will be about 2008 to 2010. And before that, Airbus`s A330 will be sold without any major competitive worries. Even if Boeing`s 7E7 finally comes to market, Airbus will not see it as a major threat, company officials said. Many of the so-called next-generation technologies to be applied on the new aircraft are already usedby Airbus, except for the engine. Yet Airbus can apply newly acquired engine technology to existing aircraft,Leahy noted.
Airbus`s optimism is not without reason. In the past couple of years, Boeing`s sales have been in decline when compared with Airbus. In 1999, Boeing delivered 620 airplanes, accounting for 68 per cent of the world`s market. This year it is expected to deliver 285, leaving Airbus a market share of 51 per cent, a majority share for the first time in history.
Leahy tried not to be too aggressive when asked to comment on Boeing`s woes. The answer is not what is wrong with Boeing, but what is right for Airbus, he said.
Airbus`s success is a combination of providing comfort to passengers, so-called green technology featuring noise reduction, and investing more money in support systems, Leahy explained.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.