European group announces $45bn in orders, but US manufacturer expected to hit back.
“Let the market decide – if it isn’t worth it, it will go away, simple as that”
LeotheIsaurian, Detroit, US
Asked if Airbus was reaffirming its 2008 delivery target of 13 aircraft, Leahy said: “That is our plan and we are on target. We have said it is a challenge, of course, but we are on track.”
A foul-up over the installation of the 500km of wiring on the double-decker A380 aircraft toppled Airbus management, pushed the manufacturer into loss and put back Europe’s biggest industrial project by two years, leading to 10,000 job cuts.
Tom Enders, Airbus’s chief executive, told Airbus staff, suppliers, journalists, and other guests at the ceremony: “The A380 is not a luxury, it is a necessity. That’s why increasing A380 production to meet demand remains our biggest challenge for the next two years.
“Everything we have accomplished so far gives us the confidence, the courage and the means to face the big ramp-up in 2008 and 2009.”
Leahy said he did not rule out further sales of A380s this year after securing orders or commitments for around 30 in 2007.
“I think we probably could do more A380s this year,” he said.
Airbus has 165 A380s on its firm order book but recent deals with British Airways and Grupo Marsans have brought commitments for the $319.2m jet to 189 aircraft spread among 16 airlines.
It expects to sell about 800 aircraft in 20 years.