Airbus won't deliver fewer than 25 A380/yr -CEO in paper


* CEO in Les Echos - sticking by A380 targets for 2013

* Airbus won't deliver fewer than 25 A350s in coming years

* A380 goal of 2015 breakeven harder to reach at 25 a year

* Confirms Airbus could make A380 even bigger next decade

* A350 development on track

By Tim Hepher and Cyril Altmeyer

PARIS, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Airbus kept its 2013 goals for theA380 despite a dearth of orders, but struck a more cautious notefor future years, saying it would not on average deliver fewerthan 25, which is below the level built into its longer-termfinancial targets.

Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier told a French newspaperAirbus would both sell and deliver 25 of the world's largestpassenger jets in 2013, meeting its targets.

"We will deliver 25 this year," Bregier told Les Echos. "Ihave no intention of dropping below this rate in the years tocome. The question is whether we will be able to increasesustainably to 30 aircraft (a year).

"The target of reaching breakeven on the programme in 2015is based on that rate (30). At 25 a year, this target would beharder to reach, but on a scale that would still be marginal."

Airbus parent EADS told analysts in May that itaimed to bring the loss-making plane to breakeven point in 2015based on an average delivery rate of 30 aircraft a year.

An Airbus spokesman said A380 targets had not changed.

Deliveries have been held in check this year as Airbusinstalls a permanent fix to the recent problem of wing cracks onthe huge double-decker jet, which entered service in 2007.

But analysts say it must on average deliver 30 a year toreach its breakeven goal for the programme in 2015, or else cutcosts further and push the breakeven threshold below 30.

Industry sources told Reuters last week that Airbus plannedto carry out a review of its flagship jet due to slow sales andhad not ruled out shaving A380 output to avoid gaps in 2015 whena handful of the jets remain unsold.

They also said the review would examine other possiblelong-term options including making the 525-seat jet even biggerto reduce unit costs amid competition from large twinjets.

Parts for the A380 such as strong metal forgings have to beordered up to two years ahead, meaning time is running out for adecision on output in 2015, which is the critical period forEADS financial targets concerning the aircraft.


A union source said the upstream production rate of 2.8 permonth - or 30 planes annually based on an 11-month industrialcalendar - had already slipped slightly in the past two weeks.

"We fine-tune our production on a monthly basis; we havedone so successfully in the past and will do so in the future,"an Airbus spokesman said when asked about the union comment.

Executive Vice President Tom Williams told Reuters last weekthat small variations in production would "not be a crisis" andruled out allowing factories to produce A380s that were unsold.

In a bid to boost A380 sales, Airbus has formed a marketingpartnership with Doric Lease Corp which has placed a provisionalorder for 20 superjumbos. Industry sources say the race is on tofinalize the order, possibly at next month's Dubai Airshow.

However, the venture only takes effect in 2016.

In the newspaper interview, Bregier also confirmed thatAirbus may opt to stretch the A380 some time next decade, butsaid the current version suited the majority of airlines.

"Personally, I think the A380 programme will have astretched version, maybe in 10 or 15 years from now," he said.

Bregier reaffirmed the main EADS financial target ofreaching a 10 percent margin in 2015 excluding the new A350programme, which he said was going according to plan.

He said Airbus would maintain production of narrowbody A320planes at 42 a month to ease pressure on the supply chain andensure a smooth transition to a new version due to enter servicein 2015.

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