Airbus is considering the production of a corporate jet "based on A380," the world's largest passenger airliner, according to a top company official.
The aerospace and defense giant announced earlier this year that it will stop deliveries of double-deck A380 in 2021.
"It’s a question of having an aircraft that is efficient and having to fill it in [with passengers] ... Today, the A380 is doing a great job. There is a possibility of having a corporate jet based on A380 one day," David Velupillai, Marketing Director of Airbus, told the Emirates News Agency, WAM, without explaining further.
"A380 is a very successful aircraft. It is very successful in the UAE with Emirates and with other carriers in the region. We will definitely continue pleasing passengers because it is the most popular aircraft from a passenger point of view. It is very quiet, very comfortable. It will go in service for many years," he added on the sidelines of the now-running Dubai Air Show.
Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders also commented on the company's decision to cease the production of A380, saying, "As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog, hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years."
On Airbus’s global commercial aircraft fleet, Velupillai said, "On the airline side we have almost a thousand aircraft flying with airlines around the world. On the corporate jet side, we have about 200 Airbus corporate jets flying worldwide, 30 percent of which are in the Middle East.
"The Middle East region is a very important market for Airbus [when it comes to] corporate jet and airline [industry], and of course military, space and helicopters. We have a strong presence for corporate jets in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia."
Talking about their participation at the Air Show, he said, "We are offering here ACJ319 that has the widest and tallest cabin of any business jet. So, when you’re travelling on a business jet, you have more comfort, space and freedom of movement than any other competing jet."
Velupillai accentuated the value that the company sees in investments in this kind of aircraft in the region.
"Corporate jets have a very good investment value that will last a long time," he explained.
"People always like to have the latest models available and today we have what we call 'new engine options,' which means that we put more fuel efficient engines in the aircraft along with fuel-saving wingtip devices known as 'Sharklets.' These two together provide 15 percent improvement in fuel, which also means an improvement in range, namely how far the aircraft can fly.
"We have many customers who are interested in upgrading from today’s models into the new ones."