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Airbus expects $50 billion in MENA sales by 2018

Airbus expects $50 billion in MENA sales by 2018
company won all 2003 aircraft orders in Mideast
Airplane manufacturer, which will release most cost-efficient model in 2006, has landed orders from the region for 66 jets worth $18.9 billion

Air traffic is likely to double in the next 15 years, and triple in 23 years based on the current annual growth of around 5 percent said David Velupillai, Airbus regional press manager.

“Airbus has a strong presence in the Middle East market, where it won all of the 2003 aircraft orders,” Velupillai said during a presentation Monday at the Beirut Marriott.

“Middle East carriers have placed cumulative orders for over 300 aircraft, some 200 of which have been already delivered,” he added.

Airbus forecasts that carriers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will acquire 620 aircraft, worth some $50 billion, by the year 2018. The largest client is Emirates with 54 planes already in service and another 43 on order.

Airbus won firm orders for 66 aircraft, worth some $18.9 billion, for the MENA region in the first 8 months of 2003. Worldwide, the company secured 238 orders in the same time period, giving it a 61 percent market share and leaving Boeing, its sole competitor, with 39 percent of the market.

The company registered a turnover of around 19.5 billion euros in 2002. With over 46,000 staff, Airbus manages a network of some 1,500 suppliers in 30 countries. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, it has 16 other sites in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. 120 field service offices are available worldwide. “Our new flagship is the 555 passenger A380 which will enter service in 2006,” Velupillai said. “The new aircraft is expected to consume 13 percent less fuel than its closest competitor.”

Velupillai says the A380 will deliver an unparalleled level of comfort, with wider seats and aisles, open spaces for passengers to stretch their legs and access to lower deck amenities. The A380 technology is to provide a 15 percent lower seat-mile costs than any other passenger aircraft in existence.

The aircraft will be the first long-hauler to consume under 3 liters of fuel per passenger over 100 kilometers. The result compares with the best of small modern turbo-diesel cars. “Emirates airlines was the first to announce that it would acquire the A380 flagship with 41 on order,” Velupillai said, adding Middle East Airlines (MEA), a long-standing Airbus customer and operator, is soon expected to have a fleet comprising solely of A321s and A330s. In 2003, MEA took delivery of five new A321s with a sixth to be delivered in the coming weeks. MEA also leased another three A300s in April 2003.

“Our success in civil aviation has prompted us to move into the military field,” concluded Velupillai. “Airbus is currently developing the A400M military transport as well as a new Multi-Role Tanker Transport.”

Beirut,09 29 2003
Ara Alain Arzoumanian
The Daily Star
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