AIRBUS, ITS MEMBER companies and Boeing will decide in June whether or not to abandon their individual studies on an aircraft in the 600-plus-seat category and step up co-operation.

Airbus' market forecast predicts delivery by the end of 2014 of more than 860 aircraft in "theoretical size categories of 600 seats and above".

Adam Brown, Airbus vice-president of strategic planning, concedes, however, that the number of airlines expressing interest is only about ten - virtually all of them Asia-Pacific carriers, plus British Airways.

Brown suggests that, although airlines are not publicly expressing great interest in such an aircraft today, this could change since their private views may be different. He says: "Even in the most optimistic forecasts, we don't see anything being launched before 1997 and coming into service in 2003."

Source: Flight International