Photo: Sipa Press/Rex Features
Airbus chief salesman John Leahy is known for his wit and goading, and day two of the Paris air show did not disappoint.
The company's second order announcement press conference was delayed when the anonymous airline customer was involved in a minor road incident, we were told. Although they were fine, they would be a bit late navigating the chalet line. Shortly thereafter an Airbus spokesman told us the customer was going to be too late. "So we'll have to delay the Garud--oh sh..." the spokesman said, realising he had given away Garuda Indonesia as the customer.
Quick on his feet, Leahy asked, "Oh you mean the Garuda order for 25 A320s?" He thus turned the situation comical and avoided speculation, even showing the press audience the decorative poster contracts Airbus had drawn up for the signing.
The third order press conference, for jetBlue's signing of A320 and A321s, featured another slip-up when Airbus sent distributed a press release saying the manufacturer was studying whether to offer its A320 Sharklet as a retrofit, despite Leahy's comments Airbus would definitely offer it. Quizzed on the contradiction, Leahy proclaimed, "We did a sloppy press release." He then said of the press release's writer, "they should get a job working for Bombardier."
The jetBlue presser soon after concluded, but not before a spokesman told us he didn't need to dust off his resume.