MONTREAL (Reuters) – Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders said on Wednesday he expects to see the first results of the company’s new majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries jetliner program within weeks, around the time of the Farnborough Air Show later this month.
“I’m convinced we’ll see first results already in the next couple of weeks,” Enders told employees at a CSeries plane factory near Montreal.
Asked later about CSeries orders, Enders told reporters there might be something to see in time for the industry’s flagship event, the Farnborough Air Show, which begins on July 16.
He did not elaborate on whether this meant new firm orders for the 110- to 130-seat planes.
Bombardier agreed in 2017 to sell Airbus a 50.01 percent stake in its key commercial jet for a token fee of one Canadian dollar, after sluggish sales, high costs and low production rates pushed the plane program well over budget.
Enders repeated comments from 2017 that he expects to sell “thousands” of CSeries aircraft, although neither he nor plane program head Philippe Balducchi would give specific figures for new orders in 2018.
Balducchi told employees the European planemaker would have to “drastically cut costs,” reiterating the company’s plan to bring down the cost structure of CSeries production.
While Airbus is expected to put pressure on CSeries suppliers to lower costs, Enders did not give specifics on whether there could be employee cutbacks.
“We’re at the start of this partnership,” he said.
Enders also told reporters he is worried that an escalation in a U.S. trade dispute with other countries could trigger retaliation that could impact air traffic. “Of course we’re worried if this escalates,” Enders said.
U.S. President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum from Europe, Canada and other countries, sparking retaliation.
The World Trade Organization said in a report on Wednesday that trade barriers being erected by major economies could jeopardize the global economic recovery and their effects are already starting to show. Enders, however, added that he was “very encouraged to see that more and more American companies are speaking up against the trade policy of the White House. I believe that will have an impact.”
Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; editing by Matthew Lewis, G Crosse