(Adds further quotes, background)
TOULOUSE, France Nov 24 The chief executive of
Airbus Group's commercial jet division said on Thursday
he had grown more confident of reaching this year's target of at
least 50 A350-900 deliveries.
"The objective has not changed. I visited the final assembly
line last Tuesday and they are still working on 50 this year,"
Fabrice Bregier told reporters at an event marking the maiden
flight of the larger A350-1000.
"I am more confident than I was at the end of June," Bregier
said, adding: "We are now really in the ramp-up phase so we
target 50 aircraft this year, or very close to it."
The delays have been caused mainly by problems with cabin
suppliers, as well as some internal work on aircraft sections.
Bregier delivered an implicit warning, couched in optimistic
language, to A350 engine supplier Rolls-Royce not to take
its eye off the ball as it goes through restructuring.
Asked if he was concerned about the British engineering
firm, he said: "It is clear that when you restructure your group
you lose a bit of focus on your customers and your operations,
and Airbus went through that in the past, so I believe that
Rolls will manage through these difficult times and become
He expressed confidence Rolls would soon resolve a separate
problem with Emirates Airline over performance of its engine for
the A380 superjumbo, which the airline plans to receive in a
change of supplier. Emirates has reported unspecified "issues".
Airbus is meanwhile going through its own internal
reorganisation that unions say will involve some 1,000 job cuts.
Bregier declined detailed comment before union meetings next
week, but ruled out any impact on the group's operations or
protests of the type that shook rival Boeing in past years.
"The track record of Airbus is social dialogue and I am
confident we will find appropriate solutions."
The reorganisation will also see Bregier take on an extra
role as chief operating officer of the group. He denied this
would distract him from the main job of running the planemaking
division, which accounts for 80 percent of group sales.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Laurence Frost and Adrian