Airbus is talking to several airlines about firming up positions for the A380 before the end of this year, the manufacturer’s Chief Operating Officer-Customers John Leahy said on the sidelines at the ISTAT Europe conference in Barcelona.
Airbus has not yet received a firm order for the A380 this year, but has targeted 25 firm orders for the period.
That total may include a commitment from the Paris air show by Doric Asset Finance for 20 aircraft, and Leahy says there is a chance the Doric deal could be firmed up before the end of 2013. Leahy also does not expect Doric’s deal will dilute other orders; Doric currently is the only lessor with a commitment for A380s.
For now, the net balance for A380 orders this year is minus three, after Lufthansa cancelled three orders for the aircraft at the end of last week. The firm order total now stands at 259 aircraft. Airbus has “a couple of slots” to be filled for the A380 in 2015, but those can only be taken by airlines that already operate the type.
Leahy says the Lufthansa decision was a “flavor du jour,” adding “let’s see what the market is like in one or two years.” According to Leahy, the Lufthansa cancellations affect slots beyond 2015 so does not affect Airbus’s current production run.
But following the Lufthansa reduction, several more orders for the A380 look shaky. Leahy says that “it is publicly known” that Virgin Atlantic has cancellation rights in its order for six aircraft. He also indicated that Hong Kong Airlines, which has ordered 10 A380, might “convert” its commitment to “other products.”
Indian operator Kingfisher Airlines is still listed with five orders, although the carrier stopped flying in 2012.