The abandonment in September of plans to build the AE31X airliner with Aviation Industries of China (AVIC), Italy’s Alenia and Singapore Technologies was not unexpected. For months, it was clear the partners could not afford this ambitious $2bn project.
Airbus managing director Noel Foregeard says of the AE31X cancellation: ‘We’ve worked with Chinese industry, Singapore industry and Italian industry to see if we could make a new 100-seater. We didn’t find that we could recover our money and make a profit.’
The AE31X was competing with Airbus’s own plans for a 100 seater, the A318, provisionally launched at last month’s Farnborough air show. This may be launched at the year’s end. Forgeard said that unlike the AE31X, it will only cost a few hundred million dollars to develop.