Sat, Nov 08, 2008
Economy Hits Airliner Sales Hard
It's that time of year again. No,
not the winter holiday season... but rather the time of year when
commercial airliner manufacturers predict next year will see a
substantial dropoff in new orders.
Those dire predictions have had the opposite effect in the past
three years -- as commercial airliner orders established new
records, fueled by a booming Middle Eastern and pan-Asian travel
market. Few expect similar surprises in store for the next two
years, however... least of all Airbus Chief Operating Officer John
In comments to the Wall Street Journal, Leahy said Airbus has
already seen approximately 100 order cancellations for 2008,
including 65 planes from now-bankrupt ultra-low-cost airline
Skybus. That's a big number... but still a relative drop in the
bucket against Airbus' reported backlog of 3,700 orders.
In typical fashion, Leahy boasted the situation could be seen as
a positive. "We don't need large orders next year. ... We'd be
happy with no orders," he said, considering that backlog.
Airbus has taken about 850 gross orders this year, Leahy added.
So far, none of the cancellations have come from Asian startup
carriers, which analysts believe could be particularly susceptible
to the current global economic downturn.
In October, Airbus delivered 42 aircraft to customers, and took
orders for nine new aircraft.
For the moment, rival Boeing isn't talking about order
cancellations, or deliveries... as that company works to restart
production following a 57-day machinists' strike.
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