AMSTERDAM, April 12 Airbus airplane
sales may remain under pressure for some time as the company
works through a record backlog of unfilled orders, but the
long-term outlook is strong, the European planemaker's finance
director said on Wednesday.
Airbus is predicting a commercial aircraft book-to-bill
ratio below 1 for 2017, meaning that it expects fewer orders
than deliveries for the first time in eight years as industry
orders continue to dwindle after peaking in 2014.
"We are fully booked in the years to come...so it is not a
surprise that the book-to-bill could be lower for some time,"
Harald Wilhelm told a shareholder meeting.
"At the same time we are bringing up the production rates.
In the long term the outlook remains very positive," he added,
citing robust forecasts for passenger traffic.
Chief Executive Tom Enders said Airbus expected to deliver
more than 720 aircraft in 2017, a slightly firmer projection
than its official guidance of 'more than 700' deliveries.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)