Mike Martin

The economic crises from Asia to Russia will not affect Airbus Industrie's (AI) plans for the A3XX superjumbo aircraft, the company said at the show.

"This is a long-term project," says AI chief executive Noel Forgeard. "This will be a product with a lifetime of 30 years and so we are not very concerned by it (the economic crisis)."

Forgeard admits that the cost of the project is now reckoned to be around $10 billion and says that the in-service date is 2004. A launch decision remains on for next year and the company continues to say "when" not "if" when talking about its plans.

"The A3XX is set to become the standard for long range travel," he says. "An aircraft larger than anything flying today is a must and the reasons are simple: travel is growing at around 5% a year."

The team of 1,000 people, including 20 senior executives from an airline working group, continue to work on what would be the world's first full-length double-deck airliner.

A3XX will carry 555 people in three classes and have a range of 14,100km (7,650nm), while a planned extended range version will travel 16,200km (8,750nm) to serve city pairs such as London-Singapore and San Francisco-Hong Kong.


Much work has gone into exploiting the possibilities of the interior space - 40% more than in the Boeing 747-400.

Engine manufacturers are developing new powerplants for the proposed aircraft: Rolls-Royce will develop the Trent 900, while the joint venture between GE/Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance is also making progress to define a new engine.

Source: Flight Daily News