June 11, 2012 / 3:04 AM / 7 years ago

Airbus hints at end to A350-1000 order drought

BEIJING, June 11 (Reuters) - Airbus sales chief John Leahy said he was “very relaxed” about the slow-selling A350-1000 and hinted a three-year order drought for the $320 million passenger jet could come to an end soon.

Asked whether Airbus could land a sale for its premier large twinjet at next month’s Farnborough air show in the UK, Leahy told Reuters “that is a possibility” and said Airbus was on course to win 600-650 total aircraft orders in 2012.

The largest version of the future A350 family, with 350 seats, has been overshadowed by the Boeing 777 which scored record sales last year. Leahy said he was confident the aircraft would establish itself as a more efficient competitor.

Airbus is looking at what it can do about a shortage of available A350-1000 delivery slots, which is due to enter service in 2017 and is sold out until late this decade, he said.

Leahy, speaking on the sidelines of an IATA airlines gathering in Beijing, also accused Boeing of putting pricing pressure on the whole narrowbody end of the jet market, the industry’s busiest segment, with its new 737 MAX.

Boeing has made similar claims in the past about Airbus.

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