Airbus: Strong demand despite global turmoil

Airbus expects demand for its aircraft will remain strong, with interest in the superjumbo A380 remaining robust -- as long as global growth stays on track, the European aircraft manufacturer's chief executive told CNBC.

"Yes there is some turmoil in the world but globally GDP (gross domestic product) is still healthy," Fabrice Bregier, told CNBC Tuesday at the Singapore Airshow.

"I tell you something: If the GDP remains positive all around the world, the traffic will grow at 1.5 times this GDP. So we have this potential which is enormous."


Airbus expects 12 A380 orders from Iran Air, as well as seeing interest from All Nippon Air, the company said at a press conference at the airshow.

The aircraft maker also spoke with a customer Tuesday about a potential order for a minimum of five A380s, said John Leahy, chief operating officer. He noted that with demand for air travel growing quickly, larger aircraft are needed to avoid too much congestion at existing airport hubs. Airbus expects passenger traffic doubles every 15 years.

Bregier added that Emirates is also looking to acquire more A380s this year, while Qatar Air is interested in more A350s.

An Emirates Airline's Airbus A380-800 is displayed at the Dubai Airshow in November 2013.
Arim Sahib I AFP I Getty Images
An Emirates Airline's Airbus A380-800 is displayed at the Dubai Airshow in November 2013.

While the lower oil prices are helping airlines, Bregier said, this had not stopped the push for more fuel efficiency.

"The low oil price makes our customers, the airlines, very healthy, very profitable and so we are preparing the long term. We know that the long term is to move to more efficient aircraft and this is what we offer," he said.

Leahy said Airbus isn't seeing airlines requesting deferrals of existing orders, adding that he's more concerned about whether production would be sufficient to meet demand. Airbus has increased production to 60 aircraft a month, he noted.


Airbus said it is keeping an order for as many as 82 aircraft from defunct Indian airline Kingfisher Airlines on its books on expectations that the contract, which would have an earlier delivery date than a new order, may be purchased from the carrier.

Globally, Airbus said it had a 62 percent market share for single-aisle planes and more than 40 percent of the market for wide-body jets in 2015. Within Asia Pacific, it had an overall 72 percent market share last year.

In 2015, Airbus won 421 net orders from 17 airlines and leasing companies in the Asia-Pacific region, coming to around 29 percent of its orders for the year. Airbus said it delivered 232 new aircraft to 40 operators in the Asia region, coming to 44 percent of its total output of 635 aircraft last year, the company said.

Over the 2006-2015 period, Airbus said it had a 62 percent market share in Asia. By 2034, Airbus expects 36 percent of global air travel will be in Asia, compared with around 29 percent in 2014.

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