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No 'panic' for A380 upgrade: Airbus

Airbus Group is not feeling pressured to develop a significant upgrade to the A380 but accepts that it will need to make a near- to mid-term decision on modernisation.

Chief executive Tom Enders, speaking at an investor forum in London, said that increasing the “commercial momentum” of the jet – looking for new opportunities and markets – remained the airframer’s priority.

“Whatever decision we take on upgrading that aircraft will be based purely on economic terms,” he says, adding that it will need a “convincing business case and customer base”.

“We’re not in a hurry, not in a panic,” he adds, pointing out that the airframer has “sufficient deliveries” to make over the next few years. “But a decision on that aircraft will have to be taken at some point.”

Emirates, in particular, has been pressing for an improved powerplant on the type.

Airbus Group chief Harald Wilhelm says the airframer will reach production break-even in 2015 and “stay at that” in 2016 and 2017, “thanks to the backlog”.

At the end of November the company had delivered 147 of the 318 A380s on order.

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