VIDEO: Leahy admits A380 near-term sales difficult but resolute in long-term demand

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Airbus's chief salesman John Leahy is confident the airframer can achieve its target of consistently selling at least 30 A380s a year, but admits that this is proving a challenge in 2012.

The airframer has secured just four new orders so far this year - four aircraft from Russian carrier Transaero - and Leahy, who is Airbus's chief operating officer for customers, says that the 30-sales target is becoming "more difficult as we get closer to the end of the year, but we still have a lot of demand" for the 525-seater.

Leahy accepts the A380's current wing-crack issue has hampered sales efforts in the short term: "Whenever you have an issue like that it slows down discussions. People who are thinking about buying it say they want the aircraft coming off the line with the new wing," he says.

"We'll have that behind us very quickly. We're talking about a 20-30 year programme and [we are] not worried about the next couple of months."

In its latest market forecast, Airbus predicts 20-year demand for 1,330 very large aircraft in the A380's category, of which it expects to capture at least a 50% market share. This equates to approximately 30 deliveries a year and Leahy is resolute in his belief that this is achievable: "There's no way that the traffic growth [forecast for the industry] can occur without larger aircraft. The A380 is not just larger but it is more comfortable, more fuel efficient and much, much quieter. Of course we're going to be selling them at 30 a year."