Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury has defended the airframer's widebody aircraft strategy, maintaining that its A330neo and A350 combination are the most modern long-haul types available to the market.

He spoke to FlightGlobal having taken over from Tom Enders in April, inheriting a product line which will soon comprise only twin-engined aircraft following the decision to end A380 production.

Despite the loss of the A380, Faury believes the Airbus widebody line poses a strong challenge to rival Boeing.

Boeing has been promoting its 777X by showing its wider cross-section compared with the A350, and the US airframer has also claimed that 60% of long-haul capacity consist of Boeing aircraft.

But Faury appears unconcerned by the rival claims.

"There is a very big battle on the widebody market," he says. "I'm not surprised they're complaining about the performance of our products and the fear that the Airbus products will take a bigger share in the future – because they will."

The long-haul market is notably increasingly characterised by fixed airframe-engine combinations, which means powerplants have a greater influence on the choice of airframe.

Faury says the Rolls-Royce-powered A350 and A330neo are the "two most modern widebodies" and that the A350, in particular, is the "most successful widebody development ever".

He notes the selection of the A330neo by Virgin Atlantic and Cebu Pacific, disclosed during the Paris air show.

Lufthansa's recent selection of the Boeing 787, he says, also included an equal number of A350s. Air New Zealand is already a 787 operator and stayed with the type for a recent order.

"We come with new products and they are successful on the market – and these are young products," says Faury. He argues that the A350 is "stronger" and "better" than the 787.

"Listen to the airlines which are the customers of the A350," he says. "Let's look at the market, let's look at the reaction of the market.

"I look at my customers, I look at the prospects, we're trying to advance and make sure that the products fulfil their expectations. And the feedback of the A350 in the market is absolutely outstanding."

Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer, speaking at an investor briefing on 19 June, said he was "really, really satisfied with the market endorsement of our products, all of our products, across the board".

While he acknowledges "some softness" and cancellations in the Airbus order books, he states: "Fundamentally I don't see an increase in the cancellation rate compared with statistical performance over last few years."

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Source: Cirium Dashboard