Fabrice Brégier, Airbus chief executive, has put a brave face on Emirates Airline’s cancellation of a $16bn order for 70 of the aircraft maker’s planned new A350 passenger jets.
It is Airbus’s largest contract cancellation, but at a dinner with journalists on Wednesday evening Mr Brégier insisted Emirates’ decision would have “zero negative impact” on the European aerospace group. “Is it a problem for us?” he said. “The answer is clearly ‘No’ … [but] I do not like it because Emirates is a top-class customer and I would prefer them to operate the A350.”
For Airbus, the loss on Wednesday of Emirates as an A350 customer throws an uncomfortable spotlight on its strategy for long-range aircraft – particularly in the lucrative market for wide-body, twin-engined jets, where it trails Boeing. The fast-growing Gulf carrier’s contract cancellation also raises broader questions about whether there are signs of a downturn in the commercial-jet industry – which could force Airbus and Boeing to stop making so many aircraft.
But for Mr Brégier, the most pressing concern is whether Airbus can hit its ambitious timetable for getting the A350 into service before the end of the year, and then ramp up production of the aircraft.
Then there is the issue of whether the A350 is an adequate competitor for Boeing’s two wide-body twin-engined jets – the Dreamliner and the planned 777X. There will be three different versions of the Dreamliner and two 777X aircraft, but Airbus is planning only three A350 models.
But Airbus has already had more order cancellations by airlines this year than in the whole of 2013. A total of 173 aircraft have been cancelled in 2014 so far, compared with 116 last year.
In a further sign of possible market deterioration, Airbus’s book to bill ratio – calculated by dividing annual orders for aircraft by jet deliveries – could decline this year compared with 2013.
面对阿联酋航空(Emirates Airline)取消价值160亿美元的空客(Airbus)订单一事，空客首席执行官法布里斯?布雷吉尔(Fabrice Bregier)对外表现得很勇敢。阿联酋航空原本计划购买70架新型A350客机。