Airbus SAS, one of the world's largest plane manufacturers along with Boeing, said orders for its A380 superjumbo jet may be a third lower this year as higher fuel costs, and a economic slowdown around the globe, affect passenger demand and airline orders.
According to John Leahy, chief operating officer, Airbus, the company may receive about 20 orders for the 525-seat airliner in 2008. Airbus had forecast 30 orders as recently as February of this year.
Speaking at the Berlin Air Show, Leahy said production schedules should not be affected. So far, Airbus has delivered four A380s, all to Singapore Airlines.
The aircraft has a list price of about $327 million.
According to Leahy, airlines around the world were clamping down on orders faced with the prospect of losses for the year. He said losses for airlines may total $40 billion for 2008. In this regard he said that currently India was among the weakest airliner markets and carriers there were likely to cancel or delay plane contracts over the next 12 months.
However, Leahy said, the A380 could fare well in a recessionary climate because of the economies of scale that the double-decker super jumbo offered.
Airbus has forecast 700 orders for 2008 - its lowest in four years. The bulk of the company's sales come from single-aisle planes in the A320 series. The order backlog at Airbus last year totaled a record 1,341 planes.
Airbus stock has slumped 32 per cent this year, cutting the company's market value to 12.1 billion euros ($19 billion).