Airbus Expects United To Place A380 Order
United Continental Holdings is contemplating an Airbus A380 order, and while a final deal will take some time, Airbus expects the U.S. airline to adopt the double-decker for its extensive Asian network.
Airbus Chief Operating Officer-Customer John Leahy, speaking with Aviation Week yesterday after a market forecast presentation in Washington, asserted that United President and CEO Jeffery Smisek has changed his previously held view that the widebody was inappropriate for U.S. operators and now saw possibilities for the A380 in the new United fleet.
However, the Airbus executive issued a caveat when pressed on a pending United deal, noting, “I’m not saying there is an order soon, but United understands that if it wants to have a major presence in Asia it needs the A380.”
Airbus considers Boeing 747 operators as likely A380 customers, and in North America that means United and Delta Air Lines are candidates. However, Delta is no longer a target, having told Airbus it wants to focus on smaller widebodies, says Leahy. “That leaves United as our target,” he added.