Last Wednesday, the head of European plane maker Airbus was quoted saying a keenly awaited decision on whether to upgrade the A320 aircraft was not easy and it would not be a disaster if the idea were scrapped.
Chief executive Tom Enders told l’Express magazine in an interview that the idea of fitting the medium-haul aircraft with new engines to save fuel and reduce operating costs — strongly supported in recent statements by Airbus’s sales chief — made strategic sense but not if valuable resources were stretched.
Enders said “It is not an easy decision to make because the situation at Airbus is very stretched on the engineering side. Many engineers remain on the A380, we are in the middle of developing the A400M and we are entering the production phase for the A350.”
“We must therefore evaluate very seriously if we are capable of working in parallel on a re-engined A320… If we ultimately decide not to do the A320 NEO, so as not to endanger current programmes, then the sky won’t collapse on our heads.”
He also said he expected a crucial financing agreement with buyers of the delayed A400M military transport plane to be finalized “probably before the end of the year”.