Airbus chief executive Tom Enders says the airframer still intends to decide by the end of the year whether to offer a re-engined A320 family, a timescale he announced at July's Farnborough air show.

"We are confident that within the next eight weeks we will make a decision," he told an Aviation Club luncheon in London today.

Enders also said that Airbus's order intake "is better than we expected at the start of the year", but he would not commit to a final 2010 prediction. The last few weeks of the year are traditionally when Airbus records a large proportion of its sales. Last year's net-order tally was 271.

In a speech covering a number of areas, and later in response to questions, he repeated the call for the US government to give up its pursuit of the European Union through the World Trade Organisation over launch aid to Airbus, and for a new consensus to be agreed. He described the ongoing dispute as "absurd" at a time when other countries were muscling into the Airbus and Boeing duopoly in large commercial airliners.

"The simple truth is that neither of us has been doing without government support. Does anyone seriously think China or Russia will accept WTO rules," he said.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news