Airbus is confident of securing a new customer for its A350 mid-sized airliner in coming weeks, possibly before the June 18-22 Paris air show.
"We will see another order for the A350, maybe before Le Bourget (the site of the biennial show)," Airbus President Louis Gallois told reporters late on Monday.
In a sign that the buyer is likely to be a stock market-listed company, Gallois said that although it was preferable to announce high-profile orders at the air show, the customer may be obliged to announce the deal beforehand.
The weeks running up to the world's biggest annual air shows, which rotate each year between Le Bourget outside Paris and Farnborough in Britain, are traditionally a quiet period as some companies store up announcements for maximum effect.
But Air France stole some of the thunder from manufacturers by announcing a $7 billion aircraft order split between Airbus and Boeing two weeks ago, immediately after its board had made the decision.
As a listed company, Air France KLM must comply with rules on the quick disclosure of significant deals and Gallois' remarks imply the next A350 customer will be listed too.
Air France is expected to confirm its own orders at Le Bourget this year. They include an order for two more A380 superjumbos, 30 A320-family single-aisle aircraft from Airbus and 18 wide-body 777 long-haul aircraft from Boeing.
In another announcement rushed out ahead of the Paris air show, Qatar Airways signed a preliminary deal with Airbus last week to supply 80 A350 aircraft worth $16 billion.
The announcement was timed to coincide with a state visit to France by the Emir of Qatar.