MIAMI (Reuters) - Planemaker Airbus's (AIR.PA) chief executive said some potential customers were studying its A380 super jumbo more seriously than before, although orders for other widebodies were more likely at this month's Paris Airshow.
"After some years where people were considering the A380 would not find its place in fleet planning, they are now studying it much more seriously," Fabrice Bregier told Reuters in Miami on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Airbus has struggled to find buyers for the jet over the last couple of years. Emirates, the biggest customer, has called for Airbus to revamp the jet with new engines.
Bregier expects a couple of hundred orders at the Paris Airshow from June 15-21. "That could be lower, could be higher," he said. That would be a big slowdown from the last two years, when Airbus booked 3,000 net orders in total.
"We'll do our best of course to secure some orders, my answer would be probably yes," he said when asked whether the group would more likely secure orders for the A350 or A330.
He declined to say when he thought Airbus might have a year in which it has more deliveries than orders, which would result in its backlog shrinking.
"It won't be in 2015. ... Next year? I don't know," he said.
He added the company would have to make a decision in early 2017 whether to change the production rate of the A380 jet or not, depending on whether it finds any new buyers.
"We would have to adjust for 2018, not before, so we have some time to get additional customers onboard," he added.
Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Alwyn Scott and Jonathan Oatis