Airbus’ head Fabrice Bregier has cooled rumours that the French aircraft company is considering discontinuing production of the A380, by stating that a new engine option and stretched version of the superjumbo will be developed.
"We will one day launch a 380neo, we will one day launch a stretch. This is so obvious there is extra potential," said Bregier who also pledged to find more customers for the struggling aircraft model.
His comments followed an earlier statement by Airbus’ chief financial officer Harald Wilhelm who told analysts on Wednesday that the company would break even on the A380 through 2018 “if we do something on the product, or even if we discontinue the product".
Following Wilhelm’s comments, Emirates’ president Tim Clark expressed anger and disappointment with Airbus.
“I am not particularly happy as you can imagine,” said Clark in a telephone interview with Reuters. “We are on the hook for this plane. I get pretty miffed when we have put so much at stake."
The Gulf carrier currently operates the world’s largest A380 fleet, with a total of 56 superjumbos in service, and 84 more on order.
As previously reported by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific (see here), Emirates has been a strong advocate for an A380neo project, having signalled its intent to purchase another 60 to 70 superjumbos if the variant was ever developed.