Wednesday November 1, 12:49 pm Eastern Time
Airbus denies report of 12 Qantas A3XX buys
(UPDATE: Updates with airbus denial, changes dateline, pvs LONDON)
PARIS, Nov 1 (Reuters) - European plane maker Airbus Industrie [ARBU.UL] on
Wednesday denied a France Info radio report that Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd
(Australia:QAN.AX - news) would buy 12 of its A3XX superjumbos and six A330-200
``We flatly deny this. It is absolutely wrong,'' an Airbus spokeswoman said.
Valuing the order at almost $4 billion, the broadcaster said Qantas would take options on a further six A3XXs, the 555-seater that
Airbus plans to launch early next year.
Industry weekly Flight International reported three weeks ago that Qantas was considering an order for 12 A3XXs and taking
options on six.
If Qantas does place such an order, Airbus will have signed preliminary agreements to supply 44 A3XXs. Airbus has recently said
it wants 50 orders before it commits the plane to production, compared with its earlier target of ``40 to 50''.
Qantas spokesmen were not immediately available. The company said on October 18 it was still considering options for upgrading
its fleet and expected to complete its evaluation by year-end.
Qantas is one of the most loyal customers of Airbus rival Boeing Co (NYSE:BA - news), with a mainline fleet composed entirely
of the U.S. company's products.
The Australian airline is an especially heavy user of Boeing's 747, the plane that Airbus aims to eclipse with the A3XX. In the
1980s, when it had no domestic operations, Qantas became the only airline to operate nothing but 747s.
In the category of smaller wide-body planes, Qantas has a long-standing requirement for 300-seat aircraft.
An order for either A330-300s or Boeing 777s has been expected but not one for A330-200s, which seat about 250 and are about
the same size as the 767-300s that Qantas already operates.
Airbus is a partnership of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co and Britain's BAE Systems Plc (quote from Yahoo! UK &
Step into my office, baby