DUBAI (Reuters) - Airbus (AIR.PA) expects to sell more A380 superjumbos this year, but a potential deal may not be finalized until early 2016, the planemaker’s chief executive said on Sunday.
Asked in an interview whether Airbus still aimed to win a keenly awaited new order in 2015 for the double-decker airplane, Fabrice Bregier told Reuters, “I think so, yes, ... and if it slips into next year this is not a drama. I think we will have some new customers.”
The A380 is looking particularly competitive because of weaker oil prices, he added.
Airbus is also looking at whether to upgrade the world’s largest passenger jet, as requested by its largest customer Emirates, but will only do when the time is right and once a solid business case has been established, he said.
Asked whether Airbus planned to lengthen the jet in order to increase its 544-seat capacity, Bregier said, “It is too early to say. We can stretch this aircraft; the problem is to see whether we would have a sensible market for that.”
Bregier, president and chief executive of the planemaking unit of Airbus Group (AIR.PA), added, “I am pretty sure we will stretch the aircraft. I have said ‘one day’ and this ‘one day’ is perhaps after the launch of the so-called A380neo.”
Emirates airline president Tim Clark earlier urged Airbus to push ahead with the A380neo and downplayed reports that the upgrade could include a decision to stretch the plane.
Reporting by Tim Hepher, Editing by Katie Paul