Airbus chief eyes overtaking Boeing in production by 2018

PHOTO: Airbus chief eyes overtaking Boeing in production by 2018

BERLIN - Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier says the European planemaker will overtake its US rival Boeing to become the world's biggest producer within four or five years, in an interview with a German Sunday newspaper.

Bregier told Welt am Sonntag that Airbus would step up production through its new A320Neo and long-haul A350 models.

"In 2017/2018 we will therefore again be able to gain the lead also in deliveries," the Airbus chief executive said according to an extract of the interview in German to appear in Sunday's edition.

Airbus will deliver more than 600 aircraft this year and more next year, he said, adding that in terms of orders, it would also beat its target. "2013 is becoming an excellent year for Airbus," he commented.

Airbus last week announced a $9.5 billion deal with Japan Airlines, its first jet order from the carrier, challenging Boeing's dominance in the Japanese market as it struggles with the troubled Dreamliner.

The fuel-efficient aircraft faced a global grounding order in January after lithium-ion batteries overheated on two different planes, with one of them catching fire while the aircraft was parked.

Bregier also criticised the comfort of the 787 Dreamliner, telling the Welt newspaper he had seen a cabin with nine seats in a row. "For me it's clear that as a passenger I wouldn't like to sit 12 hours long in there," he said.