x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Airbus chief hopes Emirates will go back to the A350

The chief executive of Airbus said that he hopes to convince Emirates to go back to the A350 aircraft, after it cancelled an order of 70 aircraft.

Fabrice Brégier, the chief Executive of Airbus, says the company’s order book would continue to grow despite Emirates’ cancellation of order for 70 planes. Pawan Singh / The National
Fabrice Brégier, the chief Executive of Airbus, says the company’s order book would continue to grow despite Emirates’ cancellation of order for 70 planes. Pawan Singh / The National

The chief executive of Airbus said that he still hopes to persuade Emirates to go back to the A350 aircraft after it cancelled an order of 70 planes.

“The decision has zero negative impact. I don’t like it because Emirates is a top-class customer,” said Fabrice Brégier. “I hope one day I will convince them to go back to the A350, but it has zero negative impact on us.”

The order had been valued at US$16 billion, according to book prices in 2007, and its cancellation was the biggest ever for Airbus. Delivery of the planes had been scheduled to begin in 2019 and run through 2023.

“This of course is not positive news, but the first delivery was in 2019. I can tell you we have plenty of opportunities to find other customers.”

Mr Brégier said that Qatar Airways was not only the launch customer of its A350, but with orders for 80 of the planes, is also its biggest customer for the widebody jet. Etihad has ordered 50 A350s.

Mr Brégier said Airbus remained bullish on the Middle East.

According to the European airplane manufacturer’s first-quarter results, which predate the Emirates cancellation, the Middle East was Airbus’s No 3 market in terms of book orders, after Asia-Pacific and Europe.

“We believe that despite the cancellation of the aircraft, we will continue to grow our order book, which is about 5,500 aircraft, in the Middle East,” said Mr Brégier.

“Emirates has ordered 140 A380s, meaning almost as much as all of the airlines in the world together. We are very strong with these airlines in the region. We have no problem of penetration of this market or market share.”

At the Dubai Airshow last November, Airbus won 160 orders and commitments worth $44bn. Most were for its widebody planes, the A380 and A350.

selgazaar@thenational.ae

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