Airbus CEO sees order volume down in 2012 -paper

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Airbus, the aircraft making arm of EADS, expects to receive fewer new orders in 2012 compared with this year, when customers snapped up the new A320neo aircraft, Chief Executive Thomas Enders said in a newspaper interview.

“There won’t be the same kind of fireworks of new orders in 2012 as there were this year,” Enders told German daily Boersen-Zeitung in an interview published on Thursday.

Despite fears of recession, the world’s leading planemakers have had a harvest of plane orders this year after moving to upgrade their best-selling models — the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 — with new engines capable of saving 12-15 percent of fuel, Reuters reports.

Airbus took the lead by promising to introduce the revamped A320neo from 2015 and has sold more than 1,000 of the aircraft, making what the EADS unit claims as the fastest-selling launch.

It has been considering raising its production rate for the A320 to 44 aircraft per month and is expected to make a decision on the matter soon.

Enders said Airbus was not yet ready to make a decision on a production increase, though, as it first wanted to be able to assess current economic developments.
“But the demand of airlines is there, and for the second half of the decade, when the “neo” comes in 2015, a further production increase is certainly imaginable,” he added.

Enders also said that the weak economy was making it more difficult for some small and medium-sized suppliers to obtain financing, and banks were shying away from aircraft financing.
“We have to find new sources of financing. The capital markets in China and Japan provide many opportunities, to name just two examples from Asia,” he said.
“We must learn to live in a weak and volatile market environment, in which Asia is playing an ever greater role, not just as buyers of our products, but also in financing,” he said.

Enders reiterated that he opposes the German government taking a stake in parent company EADS.

German state-controlled development bank KfW said earlier this month it would buy a 7.5 percent stake in EADS from Daimler , maintaining a balance of power between French and German shareholders over the aerospace company.
“I believe that more government at EADS is a step in the wrong direction,” he said, adding he is convinced that it is better for both the state and the economy if the government stays out of companies.
“EADS CEO (Louis) Gallois has made a number of very good proposals. It may not be possible to implement these things right away, but it is also not necessary to reinvent the wheel,” he said.



He also said it may no longer be realistic to try to reduce the share of EADS group revenues generated by Airbus to 50 percent from about two thirds.
“With an eye to the future growth of civil aviation and the weakness of public households in Europe and the United States, a re-assessment is necessary,” Enders said.