PARIS May 13 Airbus Group is entering
a critical phase in the development of its new A350 passenger
jet but flight tests are going well, Finance Director Harald
Wilhelm said on Tuesday.
"The A350 is in a critical phase, and challenges and risks
remain," he told reporters after unveiling a
narrower-than-expected drop in quarterly profit.
Airbus is taking advantage of the first heavy maintenance
overhauls of its A380 superjumbo, after just over six years in
service, to incorporate some improvements following recent
glitches that include problems with door noise, he said.
Airbus still aims to break even on the jet in 2015 and
expects to deliver 30 of the double-decker planes per year in
both 2014 and 2015, he added.
Wilhelm reaffirmed plans to cut 5,800 jobs as part of a
restructuring of the company's defence and space division, and
said he expected talks with unions to be completed in mid-year.
Asked about a strong lead held by Boeing in plane
orders so far this year, Wilhelm said quarterly market share was
less important to Airbus than having a healthy order book.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by James Regan)