Airbus likely to sell over 800 A380s
Airbus could sell more than 800 of its A380 superjumbos over the next two decades, sales chief John Leahy said.
Airbus is due to deliver the first of the 555-seater aircraft to Singapore Airlines tomorrow, following delays to the programme that plunged it into losses and led to a massive restructuring plan.
Airbus had been talking about the plane since the mid-1990s and Leahy said he had feared that delays to the programme and several changes of chief executive could drive customers away.
"I didn't think some of these leading airlines would stay with us through two years of delays on the A380, with five different CEOs and a battle between France and Germany over the governance of the company. They have," he said.
Over a 20-year period, it was "possible and doable" that the A380 would achieve more than 800 sales, Leahy said.
Referring to efforts to persuade airlines to take the step from showing interest in the superjumbo to signing contracts, he said: "Airlines that were quite comfortable talking to you every couple of months... took a deep breath and said: 'Woah, $250 million apiece and you want me to take how many?'" The aircraft has a list price of more than $300 million.
Leahy added that he expected Airbus would build a freighter version of the A380 "later". Airbus has put the programme on ice after key customers dropped out.
Airbus parent EADS is engulfed in a controversy over an insider trading probe surrounding shares of the group. This stems back to the disclosure of worsening delays to the A380 in June 2006, which caused EADS shares to lose a quarter of their value. ( Reuters )