Economic downturn could impact up to 27 per cent Airbus bookings: John Leahy

London: If the aviation industry cycle should weaken Airbus could see 27 per cent of its airplane order backlog cancelled or deferred, according to chief operating officer  (customers) John Leahy. Leahy was addressing industry analysts at an investor conference in Spain.

Both Airbus and rival Boeing Co have said that they expect airplane orders to weaken during 2008 as a worsening economic situation around the globe begins to impact airline business.

Both companies now have order backlogs worth about five years of production.

In past slumps, airlines have often cancelled or delayed airplane orders to offset weak passenger demand.

"We do have a strong backlog with a little bit of overbooking," Leahy told analysts Thursday at an investor conference in Spain that was released online Friday.

On the subject of a new single-aisle airplane, Leahy said that given their huge order backlogs, Airbus and Boeing might not develop a new single-aisle airplane until late next decade.

"I think we'll be talking about 2017, 2020," he said.

Airbus is a division of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.