The introduction of a single-aisle replacement from Airbus appears further away than ever after chief salesman John Leahy's prediction that it is unlikely to arrive until the early 2020s.
Speaking at the Airbus press conference in Paris, Leahy said he thought it would be "2020-2022 until you'll see a new single-aisle". Until now, the latest that Airbus and its US counterpart Boeing had been predicting that a replacement for the A320 and 737 would be available was by the end of the next decade. Record numbers of A320 and 737s are being sold, he says. "It makes no sense right now to come out with something in the middle of the next decade."
Leahy says that he does not believe that it is the current downturn that has pushed back the replacement, but the technologies required. "We have to wait for a quantum leap in new technology, both in engines, flight control systems and manufacturing, and that's not here today," he says. "People are taking a hard look at what's required and realising its probably around 2020, or may be 2021 or 2022."