Airbus expects to sell at least 30 A380 superjumbos this year, a senior executive said on Wednesday while a counterpart at rival Boeing forecast strong middle eastern and Asian demand for its competing 747-8 model.
In April, Airbus slowed A380 production to allow for repairs to cracks discovered on components inside the wings of the world’s largest aircraft. But it reaffirmed a target of delivering 30 aircraft in total in 2012, up from 26 last year.
Mark Pearman-Wright, head of leasing and investor marketing at Airbus, said the European plane maker would meet its delivery target and sell more A380s than it produces this year.
“We’ll sell A380s to airlines around the world this year,” he told an Ascend aviation conference on Wednesday.
The 525-seat double-decker A380 competes with the 467-seat stretched version of Boeing’s jumbo jet, the 747-8.
The two plane makers have clashed for several years over the strategy for such aircraft which stand at the top end of the USD$100 billion annual jet market.
Boeing is less confident than its European rival of demand for jets over 400 seats, preferring to focus its spending on mid-sized lightweight aircraft such as the 787 Dreamliner.
But Tony Simpson, managing director for Europe, Russia and Central Asia at Boeing Capital said negotiations were under way to sell the newly launched passenger version of the 747-8.
“We see a big market to the Middle East and Asia. There are a lot of discussions going on in those places,” he said.
Analysts are watching for clues over demand for aircraft at the Farnborough air show in the UK from July 9-15, amid Europe’s debt crisis and persistent fears over financing and oil prices.
Boeing announced provisional orders for 17 Boeing 747-8 passenger jets worth USD$5.3 billion at last year’s comparable event in Paris and is expected to firm up the orders soon.