“Lessors are a key and integral part of our strategy,” Leahy said. Airbus only financed 2% of its own products last year. Export Credit Agencies financed only half the numbers of Boeing, he said.
Leahy does not see a downturn any time soon.
“We’ve flattened down production and then went back up” through previous cycles, he said. In recent years, Airbus figured out that not all customers will take deliveries through financially depressed years, so the company has an “excess backlog” to what Airbus is producing. (In other words, overbooking its sales.)
“Somebody better come to us and cancel airplanes,” or reschedule them, Leahy said. “This is no longer a cyclical industry. My biggest fear is being able to produce them.”
The middle class in Asia Pacific is driving continued airline passenger demand more than any other region in the world, he said, compared with flat demand in North America and Europe. Latin America and other markets trail the Asia-Pacific growth, but these are growing.
With tongue in check, Leahy suggested Boeing re-engine the 757 to meet the middle of the market demand.
He said there will likely be an MTOW increase for the A330-900 announced at the Farnborough Air Show. An update whether Airbus might stretch the A350-1000 could also occur at the FAS.