Airbus, which has faced considerable setbacks in delivery of its A380 ‘superjumbo’, is close to agreeing deals with two airlines interested in purchasing the $300 million aircraft.
The European planemaker says that it is in negotiation with two further airlines, which have not previously placed orders for the plane, and that it will announce the deals by early 2008.
“In the coming few months we can announce one or two new customers. We’re advancing in the negotiations. One [of the airlines] is in Europe; the other I can’t say anything about right now.”
Let the guessing start... for Europe I put my money on British Airways, the "we don´t tell you customer" should be from Asia IMO, I guess either Air India, Jet Aiways, China Airlines, Cathay Pacific or Asiana.
In addition it appears that there are deals for a further two A380 "Flying Palace" are already at advanced negotiation stages, apart from the first sale (though not officially confirmed so far). Wouldn´t that be a great opportunity to place the test frames to customers who don´t care so much about systems commonality as they will likely only purchase one frame, now that Etihad has shifted their order?
However Abramovich is not likely to be the only private buyer of the super jumbo. Sources at the air show suggest that at least two other private buyers, both from the Middle East are both in final stages of talks with Airbus.
Airbus CEO John Leahy last night would only confirm that the buyer was "not from Europe or the US", according to The Mirror.
[Edited 2007-06-24 12:00:23]
[Edited 2007-06-24 12:05:26]