44 ATW | March 2015 | atwonline.com
to 10 a month in 2018 will not be a walk in the park.
We are looking carefully at maturity in service and will
work on keeping recurring costs in check.
Why are you developing the A330neo?
We see a high additional potential for this aircraft. We
will ofer a family with the A330neo-800 and -900, and
we believe both aircraft will be extremely successful.
Why? Because the cost of capital remains competitive
and at the same time we will achieve a fuel burn reduction of about 14%, which places this family right in the
category of the Boeing 787. Our goal is to deliver the
frst aircraft by the end of 2017, meaning 42 months of
development time, which will set a new industry record.
We are confdent we will be able to do that because we
are starting with engines that already exist, and from a
platform that is well known in detail. Drawing also from
the lessons of the A320neo, we will develop this upgrade
with more simplicity and in a shorter timeframe.
Demand for A380s is still low …
We delivered 30 A380s in 2014 and are on track to
achieve breakeven in 2015. Tere are 152 A380s fying today with 13 major airlines. I am confdent that
the A380’s best days lie ahead. Te size of the market
doubles every 10 to 15 years. So in 10 years, at the
current growth rate, we’ll naturally have more demand
for the A380, especially since airports will not grow at
the same pace. In 2014, we received an order for 20
aircraft from the leasing company Amedeo [formerly
Doric Lease Corporation]. On top of that, the A380
enjoys an operational reliability today that is among
the industry’s highest. We went through several years of
difcult times, but that is now behind us.
More airlines are asking for an improved, re-en-
gined A380. Where does Airbus stand on making
a decision whether to launch an A380neo?
Our top priority for now is to fnd new customers for
the existing version of the A380. We will also ofer
some customers the capability to boost the revenue
potential of the A380 with, for example, further optimization of the cabin, while maintaining the A380’s
best comfort level.
Longer term, I believe we will see more evolutions of
the A380. One concept might be around an A380neo,
meaning some upgrades of the aircraft combined with
a re-engining. As with any other aircraft of our family
of airliners, we’ll also continue to improve this aircraft.
Even longer term, depending on the market, we could
foresee a stretch, but that is not a focus today. Te
A380 is still a very young platform and there are plenty
of avenues to move ahead when the time is right.
So an A380neo will eventually come to the market?
We will study several alternatives and one day we’ll
come up with what we believe is the best solution. It
will depend on getting the correct balance of technical performance, our ability to invest and customer
feedback. Tis is exactly what we did on the A330neo.
We moved ahead when we believed it was the right
time to do so. With the A380, we will equally put all
elements together and decide when the time is right. It
will be a business driven decision, and in this the A380
does not difer from any other aircraft. Te A380 is not
an iconic product. It is a member of the Airbus family,
which comprises the A320, the A330 and the A350.
Weighing the capital allocation, our priorities and
the business requirements will be done in the coming
months and years. Tere is no reason to act diferently on the A380 than with any other member of the
Airbus aircraft family.
We see companies like Mitsubishi, Sukhoi and
COMAC in the market. Will Airbus and Boeing
continue to dominate?
In ten years’ time, we believe the two major players
will still dominate the market. It takes a long time
to develop and produce a good aircraft that is reliable, safe and has a tangible international footprint.
However, we equally know that over the next decade
we will face a larger and tougher competition. We have
a huge customer base and nearly 6,400 aircraft in our
backlog. Tis makes life for new competitors even
more difcult, at least for as long as they do not introduce a true game-changer. So our answer as an aircraft
manufacturer is that either you continue to incrementally improve and innovate your current aircraft, or you
invest in bringing in a game-changer when you believe
you are mature and ready enough to do it.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for Airbus?
Our business is tough. We have many unknowns. Our
job is to reduce the numbers of those unknowns and to
be prepared. I think that we have proven over the last
years that we were able to do that. In 2015, we plan to
deliver 15 A350s and we will slightly reduce the output
of A330s to around 100 aircraft. A380 deliveries will
again be close to 30 aircraft this year. Single-aisle
production will be kept stable during the transition
phase to the A320neo. So overall in 2015 we will
deliver a slightly higher number of aircraft.