By David Pearson
LE BOURGET, France--Airbus Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier
Thursday said he remains concerned about the strength of the euro
against the U.S. dollar which could limit the European
plane-maker's export-reliant growth despite strong demand for
passenger jets particularly from Asia.
The CEO has previously expressed concern that the euro's rise
against the dollar could force the company to seek extra cost cuts
or savings. Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Mr Bregier told Dow
Jones Newswires that Airbus is most comfortable operating when the
euro trades around $1.33 to $1.34. "But our objective is that the
dollar trades durably below $1.30; $1.34 isn't the case.
"We must have a euro less than $1.30," he said.
The euro fell sharply in early trading Thursday to around $1.32
from around $1.34 in late trading in the U.S., after the Federal
Reserve signaled it would tighten monetary policy next year. A
month ago, the euro was trading nearer $1.28.
"It's good to remember that companies which export are in
competition with American rivals, 100% in our case," Mr. Bregier
said, referring to Airbus' archrival Boeing Co. (BA).
Airbus hedges its currency exposure and has production
facilities in the U.S. and China to limit its sensitivity to the
euro-dollar exchange rate although all its aircraft sales are
denominated in the U.S. currency.
"[European exporters] must be backed by a monetary policy which
isn't only the preserve of the Federal Reserve or the Bank of
Japan," he said.
Mr. Bregier acknowledged that, for now, the commercial aircraft
sector is in good shape particularly as demand from Asia remains
strong. Airbus notched up 466 orders and commitments from customers
at the Paris air show, adding to the 516 already recorded before
the trade event started. Mr. Bregier had previously forecast the
manufacturer, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.
(EAD.FR), would notch up more than 800 orders this year.
"We were expecting fewer [orders], honestly," Mr. Bregier
"But it's often like that during the shows because there are
discussions underway and [the show] is a good accelerator to
converge [on a deal]," he said. "This is a super salon," he
Mr. Bregier said he wasn't worried about a lack of new orders
from Asian customers for Airbus's new long-distance A350 jetliner,
saying many had already ordered the jets and have continued to sign
up for Airbus's smaller planes like the A320.
Hong Kong Aviation Capital, an aircraft-leasing firm, Thursday
signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for the purchase
of 40 A320neo single-aisle planes and 20 A321neo aircraft.
Write to David Pearson at firstname.lastname@example.org