Airbus yet to find key to long-haul overbooking

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Airbus wants to apply overbooking tactics to its long-haul lines but has yet to work out a methodology that avoids potential production risks.

The airframer has been overbooking baseline A320s to ensure it has sufficient flexibility during its transition to the re-engined A320neo – although it has not given details on the extent to which orders exceed slots.

While Airbus has been cautious to avoid over-producing aircraft, in order not to deal with white-tails, chief operating officer for customers John Leahy says the airframer tries “intentionally” to overbook on the single-aisle line.

“We’d like to figure out how to do it on widebodies,” he says.

But he states that the long-haul situation is more complex. The lead times on widebodies are longer and the higher levels of customisation make the process more difficult.

This is less of an issue on the single-aisle lines, says Leahy, where aircraft “can move about”.

Airbus ended 2013 with a record backlog of 5,559 aircraft. These included 2,610 A320neo-family and 1,688 regular A320s-family jets.

Its long-haul backlog comprised 812 A350s, 267 A330s and 182 A380s.