Airbus is beating Boeing in terms of orders but lags it in deliveries of aircraft.
The European planemaker announced it delivered 688 aircraft compared with 748 by its bigger US rival.
In the race for new orders Airbus posting 731 to Boeing’s 668.
Airbus planemaking president Fabrice Bregier told a news conference he expected more than 700 deliveries in 2017, but without the last-minute frenzy seen last year which was due to problems in receiving engines and cabin equipment.
The surge in Airbus orders included 98 out of 100 planes being sold to Iran under a historic post-sanctions deal.
The head of IranAir took delivery on Wednesday of the first jet – an A321. IranAir Chairman Farhad Parvaresh said it was a “sunny day” for peace and friendship between Iran and Europe.
The Iranians have also ordered 80 aircraft from Boeing and are expected to seal an order for 20 turboprops from Europe’s ATR.
A big question mark still hangs over the A380 superjumbo with airlines opting for smaller, more fuel-efficient planes. Even though deliveries of 28 of the giant planes brought it up to break-even for 2016, Emirates has delayed some 2017 deliveries and Airbus will cut output from 2018.
Euronews spoke to Airbus’ sales chief John Leahy.
Anne Glemarec, Euronews: “You’ve signed a deal for about 100 aircraft with Iran, thanks to the US administration’s green light. How worried are you that with Trump in the White House, that deal could be at risk?”
John Leahy: “I think that whether or not Trump would have done this deal had he been president is immaterial. The fact is the deal was done, it looks like the Iranians are honouring the deal, these aren’t military aircraft, they’re civil aircraft, it improves safety in Iran and both Boeing and Airbus will be creating more jobs, so I believe that the Iranians will honour their commitment and I would think the US will continue going through as they are issuing the licences.”
Euronews: “What’s the future for the A380 superjumbo, with demand so low?”
John Leahy: “Everybody in this industry from the suppliers to the airlines agree that 15 years from now, traffic will have doubled again. Is Charles de Gaulle [airport] going to double in size? Is Frankfurt? Is London Heathrow or are we going to build a new Heathrow? A new Frankfurt? A new JFK? Of course we’re not. The only way for it to double would be to have larger aircraft. Now, we happen to have the world’s largest aircraft in the A380 and fortunately it’s the aircraft that passengers go out of their way to fly. Over 60 percent of the passengers flying in the A380 tell us they would go out of their way to fly on it and they would pay more money to fly on it. So with traffic doubling in 15 years and people loving the aircraft, I think the A380 has a great future.”
“News just in that 10% of all passengers using
HeathrowAirport</a> in 2016 were flying on the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/A380?src=hash">#A380</a>…" Leahy <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AirbusResults?src=hash">#AirbusResults</a> <a href="https://t.co/GLuSCDs1Xm">pic.twitter.com/GLuSCDs1Xm</a></p>— Airbus (Airbus) January 11, 2017
Euronews: “Last but not least, how do you see the future of the aviation industry with the rise of China as a manufacturing force?”
John Leahy: “If you ask me whether I’ll be worried about China five years from now, I’d say no, 10 years from now I’d say no. But if you ask me if I’d be worried about China as a competitor 20 years from now I would tell you that China will be one of the big three manufacturers of aircraft 20 years from now.”
USA (@ChinaDailyUSA) January 5, 2017