Fabrice Bregier, the CEO of EADS subsidiary Airbus spoke to euronews business journalist Antoine Juillard about the European aircraft manufacturers’ results for last year.
Antoine Juillard, euronews: “Before talking about Airbus’ results for 2012, lets talk about series of the incidents involving the 787 Dreamliner, which is made by your rival Boeing. That could be seen as a good thing for Airbus, but is it really?”
Fabrice Bregier: “No, it’s not a good thing, and when it comes to flight safety the whole industry supports that and so I hope above all that Boeing can fly the 787 again very, very soon. You must understand that the aviation industry is organised in such a way that we have agencies that verify the safety of our aircraft and that is why we are one of the safest forms of transportation in the world – be it Boeing or Airbus.”
euronews: “Despite your good results for 2012, Boeing was well ahead of Airbus in terms of orders and deliveries. Your US rival knocked you off the number one spot after several years. What lessons can Airbus learn from that?”
Fabrice Bregier: “The lesson is that in 2012 we had a very good year, which was better than expected with deliveries up by 10 percent, we delivered 588 aircraft, so when you say that we fell a long way behind Boeing, we remain the market leader, both in terms of the backlog of orders – with orders for close to 4,700 aircraft on our books – that’s seven years of production – and that year after year, we continued to increase our deliveries, our speed of delivery, to our customers.”
euronews: “How much is the global economic slowdown going to impact Airbus’ financial state?”
Fabrice Bregier: “What’s very important for us is that we have a backlog of orders which is distributed worldwide; especially if you look at China, if you look at Asia, they are our fastest growing areas, so we’re not dependent on growth in one area, such as Europe or the United States. Indeed, we are dependent on global growth, and that growth is happening, so I think we can rely on the figures I’ve announced and we won’t see any surprises in 2013.”
euronews: “Thirteen years after you first came up with the concept of the A380, you have only 257 firm orders: when do you expect to finally get over the problem of cracks appearing in the A380s wings and for sales to really take off?”
Fabrice Bregier: “Firstly, the problem of the micro-cracks found on aircraft in service in early 2012, has been fixed. We found the cause, we have come up with solutions and so 100 planes currently in service with airlines are being gradually “retrofitted” through to the end of 2014, which is consistent with what we had told our customers. So that problem is completely behind us. It is true that in the present market, sales of larger aircraft are a little soft, but eventually with the A380 we will take the lead, because of congestion in the skies, and with airports limited to the size they are, they’re going to need big planes like the A380.”
euronews: “Would you like to overtake Boeing in the coming year? Or don’t you care?”
Fabrice Bregier: “We’re not letting the grass grow under our feet, I think we’re moving forward, we are on the road to success, we have new programmes, we’re also gradually improving our profitability. And whether we’re ahead of Boeing or behind them, the market is growing five percent per year, so who’s ahead really isn’t that important.”
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