Airbus Sees COVID-19 Hitting Long-Haul Aircraft Orders

Credit: Airbus

PARIS—The COVID-19 outbreak and the disruption it is causing to international travel could hit industry-wide orders for long-haul aircraft, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury told a Mar. 4 hearing of the French senate’s economic affairs committee.

Scores of carriers have been making changes to their flight schedules as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, which began in China but has spread around the world. 

In February, IATA predicted the airline industry would see demand for flights fall by 4.7% this year and take a $29.3 billion revenue hit because of the virus, with Asia-Pacific airlines suffering more than their global peers.

“When it comes to long-haul aircraft, between Airbus and Boeing we have a lot of supply and a market that is not quite as strong as was predicted a few years ago,” Faury said.

“We had a very tense situation last year with regard to order intake and competition with Boeing and we expect an even more difficult situation this year and next year given the impact of the coronavirus on international travel, the suspension of certain routes and a certain amount of overcapacity at least in the short term that is going to not improve the situation,” Faury told the committee. 

Faury said Airbus would have to continue to work hard in 2020 to win orders as “there will probably be fewer to be won in 2020 on the long-haul side, or at least that’s what we can see in the short term.”

Helen Massy-Beresford

Based in Paris, Helen Massy-Beresford covers European and Middle Eastern airlines, the European Commission’s air transport policy and the air cargo industry for Aviation Week & Space Technology and Aviation Daily.