Airbus Sees No Impact From Eurozone Debt Crisis

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Published: October 6, 2011

Airbus said it may help customers with aircraft financing if the euro debt crisis makes it necessary as concerns grow about European banks’ ability to fund increasing plane orders.

Airbus on Thursday did not expect any impacts on orders though and reiterated forecasts for USD$ 3.5 trillion of aircraft orders over the next 20 years.

It did say there was a question mark over the appeal of financing, particularly dollar-funded transactions.

“We will, if necessary, enter into some financing although we’re not a bank,” Tom Williams, Executive Vice President, Programmes for Airbus told a media briefing in Sydney.

Williams said the industry would again look to government export credit agencies for support. Those agencies filled the gap during the 2008 crisis with guarantees as market sources of funds dried up.

“We will look again to the ECAs (export credit agencies) and we have been very active in talking to them in the last few weeks,” Williams said.

Lenders and airlines have warned the global aviation industry faces financing uncertainty due to Europe’s debt crisis despite record numbers of planes leaving the production lines at Airbus and rival Boeing.

French banks that specialise in bankrolling the USD$ 80 billion annual airliner market have scaled down lending amid problems in securing dollars, as US investors withhold deposits from institutions perceived as most exposed to Greece.

However, Williams said he had seen no immediate impact on the debt crisis on aircraft orders, noting the company’s biggest challenge in 2011 so far was political upheaval in the Middle East which impacted some business.

Airbus reiterated forecasts, released on September 19, that the industry globally was expected to buy about 27,800 aircraft over the next 20 years to meet demand for travel to and from Asia’s growing cities and to renew ageing fleets in the West.

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