Air Transport World

New programs take back seat to orders.

Although Airbus and Boeing announced substantial orders at the Paris show, both were fairly quiet about proposed new aircraft programs. Boeing barely made reference to the 777X and 747 growth versions while Airbus lightly touched on the A3XX but had little to say about the A318.

Despite an upbeat review at the show of the progress of Airbus Industrie by CEO Noel Forgeard--3,300 aircraft sold, 2,000 delivered to 160 customers--the European consortium remains stalled on its two important futuristic projects, the 600seat A3XX twin-deck airliner and the plan to transform the group from government owned to private enterprise.

Although the partners remain unable to agree on an A3XX go-ahead for what would be a massive $ 11 billion development project, Forgeard remained bullish over sales possibilities, forecasting a market for 1,500 aircraft--a growth of 200 since the last public statement, due, he said, to cargo versions being added in.

"Airlines we have been working with over the past three years indicate that the market wants a large aircraft to enter service at around 2005 with 15% more-efficient direct operating costs than the most-modern 747. We have been working with a panel of 20 airlines, among them United, British Airways, Lufthansa, Japan Airlines and Singapore Airlines," he said. …

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