Airbus is in active discussions with various Chinese airlines regarding the A350 because Airbus is confident that it is the right aircraft for Chinese airlines to operate to Europe and North America.
Air China is Airbus’ only A350 Chinese customer, with an order for 10 A350-900s.
But the lack of early available delivery slots for the A350 is a major challenge for Airbus as it pitches the type to Chinese customers.
“Our industrial constraint is that you need to place the order well in advance to ensure delivery at a given period… so with 800 A350s being ordered, of course it’s a mathematical exercise,” said Airbus China president and chief executive Eric Chen.
The problem in particular for Chinese customers, is that they plan their fleet requirements in 5-year periods, and are cautious when it comes to ordering aircraft beyond that timeframe. The next five year period covers 2016 to 2020.
“We’re trying to satisfy our customers, but yes I have slot issues,” says Chen.
“The key for us is industrial ramp up to produce enough production required by the market. That for me is a real challenge.”
Based on the article “A350 slot constraints pose challenge for Airbus in China” published in FlightGlobal.