Airbus Industrie could next month get the green light to begin making formal A3XX offers to airlines at the end of June.

At a meeting on 26 May the Airbus board will decide whether to authorise the commercial launch of the 550-650-seater.

The decision will take into account "not only straight numbers, but the quality of the customers, the potential of the A3XX to satisfy demand from global alliances and the suitability of airports," says Philippe Camus, Aerospatiale Matra's president.

Assuming enough customers sign up, full industrial launch of the aircraft will follow in December, leading to the delivery of the first aircraft towards the end of 2005.

Airbus also confirms that FedEx, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines and Atlas Air are among the potential launch customers lined up by the consortium, and that passenger and freighter versions could be launched simultaneously.

Delivery of the first A3XX-100F cargo variant would follow 18 months after the passenger version, in mid-2007. A customer from each of the oneworld and Star alliances is a definite target.

Source: Flight International