Congestion at major airports like London’s Heathrow may be good news for Airbus Group SE.
The planemaker expects rising numbers of passengers at hub airports to spur sales of its A380 superjumbo jet, which has seen demand slow because its size limits service on most routes.
“Demand will widen progressively” as carriers seek to make the most of scarce slots at hubs in Hong Kong, New York and Frankfurt, said Fabrice Bregier, chief executive officer of Airbus’s plane-making unit. Nine airlines will be flying the A380 into Heathrow starting in July.
“The trend is there,” Bregier said in an interview at an an industry conference in Miami on Tuesday. “You have big airports which are already under slot constraints or congested.”
The jet would work for the three major U.S. airlines, with United Continental Holdings Inc. being the carrier where “the requirements from our perspective would come first,” Bregier said.
While a secondary market for the A380 doesn’t yet exist “we are preparing for it,” he said. “We believe there will be an after-market for new type of customers who can’t invest the price of a brand new A380 and who have the size and capacity to accommodate 500 passengers.”