PARIS 2009: Leahy pushes back single-aisle successor further

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Introduction of a single-aisle replacement from Airbus appears further away than ever after chief salesman John Leahy predicted it would be unlikely to arrive until the early 2020s.

Speaking at an Airbus press conference at the Paris Air Show, Leahy said he thought it would be "2020-2022 until you'll see a new single-aisle".

Until now, the latest that Airbus and US counterpart Boeing had been predicting that a replacement for the A320 and 737 would be available was the end of the next decade.

While "record" numbers of Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s are being sold, "it makes no sense right now to come out with something in the middle of the next decade," Leahy says.

Leahy adds that he does not believe the current downturn has pushed back the replacement, but rather the technologies required.

"We have to wait for a quantum leap in new technology, 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 it's probably around 2020, or may be 2021 or 2022."