October 14, 2007
Airbus sees 800 A380 sales
European planemaker Airbus could sell more than 800 of its A380 superjumbos over the next two decades, sales chief John Leahy said in an interview with Reuters TV.
Airbus is due to deliver the first of the 555-seater aircraft to Singapore Airlines on Monday, following delays to the programme which plunged it into losses and led to a restructuring plan that will involve plant sales and 10,000 job cuts.
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 airline 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 which were quite comfortable talking to you every couple of months ... took a deep breath and said 'woah, $250 million a piece and you want me to take how many?'"
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