Airbus could sell 1,500 jets this year
Dubai, November 15, 2011
A senior Airbus executive predicted continued strong demand for the revamped A320neo jet as carriers scramble to save fuel and raised the prospect of quick new sales at the Dubai Air Show.
Demand for the jet could push Airbus even higher than the company's newly increased target of 1,500 orders in 2011, Airbus Middle East President Habib Fekih said.
"Since the future looks more and more oriented to high fuel costs, the demand for the neo will continue. It started at Paris, it continued during the summer and it'll not stop," Fekih said in interview, referring to June's Paris Air Show.
Fekih, the veteran of a quarter century of sales battles between Airbus and Boeing, was speaking to Reuters at the November
13-17 Dubai Air Show.
During that time Europe's debt crisis has spiralled and aircraft financing has become harder to find. But Fekih said this would not deter airlines needing to replace inefficient jets or to plan expansion while squeezed by high oil prices.
"At this air show we are seeing it again and you'll see it again tomorrow (Tuesday). We'll make more announcements on the same subject," he said on Monday, referring to the A320neo.
Executives at the Dubai event said there were expectations that Qatar Airways would buy Airbus and Boeing jets. The airline was expected to place an order for A320neos and A380 superjumbos in Paris in June but delayed any announcement.
Airbus has almost 1,300 orders and commitments for the 150-seat aircraft, which aims to deliver up to 15 percent in fuel savings starting from 2015 mainly due to new engines.
It sold 50 of the planes worth $4.6 billion to Kuwaiti lessor Alafco on Monday as lessors join in.
"This year is for the neo .... Airbus has now already exceeded the 1000th order for the neo and I think it'll be even more before we close the year," Fekih said.
"I'm confident totally that Airbus will exceed 1,500-1,600 orders this year. This is doable because we see how much we have in the bag already. If we add what we have today plus a few others in the coming few days, you will be close. Then, a few here and there and the number is easily reachable."
Airbus logged 1,372 gross orders in 2011 up to the end of October, dominated by the A320neo surge. Boeing responded by agreeing to launch its own revamped model called the 737 MAX. - Reuters