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China holds key to future of Airbus A380 superjumbo


An employee works on an Airbus A380 plane inside the Air France KLM maintenance hangar at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris, France, May 31, 2016.

Philippe Wojazer | Reuters

An employee works on an Airbus A380 plane inside the Air France KLM maintenance hangar at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris, France, May 31, 2016.

Hugely popular with passengers but less so with airlines, after just 10 years in the sky, the Airbus A380 superjumbo is struggling to find buyers.

The France-based manufacturer is reportedly offering China an industrial partnership with the company if Beijing places orders for its largest passenger jet. Airbus Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier is in China to hold talks after traveling to the country as part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s trade mission.

Rami Myerson, an analyst at Investec, said Monday that there had been speculation for some time that Beijing will invest in the struggling superjumbo.

“There is a view that aircraft and airspace are becoming more and more congested and given the strong growth in China that could be an attractive plane for the country,” he said.

Airbus currently has fewer than 100 Airbus A380s on its production line and it is expected that some of these orders will be canceled.

It had hoped to announce a fresh deal for at least 30 more A380s with top customer Emirates at the Dubai Airshow in November, but that never happened and negotiations appear to have stalled.

Emirates has expressed concern that, with few other customers, Airbus may not be able to fulfill its delivery promise.

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