Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said in an interview published on Sunday that he “expects air traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels and that airlines intend to allocate the same space for business class seats as they did before.”
Air transport is still in crisis, despite the acceleration in the distribution of vaccines in developed countries. With video calls replacing face-to-face meetings, it is difficult to predict the extent of the recovery in business trips in the future.
But Faurie told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag that the way companies think about it has changed.
“Companies realized that at some point they would have to meet their customers and suppliers directly again,” he said. At some point they will have to come in person to develop products or build factories.”
“This is what the airlines are telling us, as they now have to decide how the seats will be distributed on their planes in the future. And we see them planning the same number of business class seats as before the pandemic.”
However, when asked about the number of business trips he expects in the future, he admitted that the sector may not fully recover. “Maybe it will be a little less,” he said. One thing is clear to me: people want to travel again. Maybe not more than it was before the pandemic, but probably not less.”
Earlier, Airbus raised aircraft-making targets, expressing its conviction of signs of a global recovery and strengthening its position, ahead of talks with suppliers on ways to distribute the investments required to lift the aviation sector out of recession.
Shares of Airbus, the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, rose more than 6 percent after it said it was looking to increase production of its main single-aisle aircraft to nearly double by the middle of the current decade from low levels caused by the crisis, while strengthening production plans for the current year.
Airbus confirmed plans to increase production of the A320neo single-aisle aircraft more than 10 percent from the current rate of 40 aircraft per month to 45 by the end of this year.
And it gave suppliers a new target to build 64 planes per month by the second half of 2023, exceeding the previous record production level of 60 planes and even its pre-pandemic ambition, which was aimed at making 63 planes per month. Aircraft demand is recovering faster than expected, led by domestic travel in the United States and China.