Guillaume Faury reveals his battle plan to go ahead with Boeing

“Don’t waste a crisis. » The expression pleased Guillaume Faury, who willingly accepted it himself. The executive chairman of Airbus does not intend to wait for the return to normal to plan for the long term again in the structural decisions. On the occasion of the first investor’s day of the European manufacturer in four years, on September 23, it announced that the renewal plan has begun again. The next chapter is rewired. He also took the opportunity to reaffirm some goals.

Inherited from plan Next Chapter launched in 2019, this plan mainly takes actions that have been initiated in recent years, either in digitization, reducing the environmental footprint or improving productivity. If the commercial aircraft is at the center of the game, it also applies to other branches of the group according to the four pillars defined by Guillaume Faury.

Ahead of these pillars, the boss of Airbus places the products. And if he considers that he already has a “very solid” portfolio, he claims that he intends to improve the existing platforms with the contribution of new technologies, but also to expand his offer through to develop new versions. In this second point, Guillaume Faury talks about the programs that are already on the track of the A321 XLR in the first place, although he knows that its progress is not as fast as he would like.

The A220-500 is reasonable

He also mentioned a project that is still in the maturation stage: the A220-500, an extended version of the former C-Series, developed by Bombardier and bought by Airbus. “You may have heard about the A220-500. It makes a lot of sense for us, but at a certain point. We don’t want to develop too much on it. We still have a lot of work to do on the A220 (the current -100 and -300 version, editor’s note) before we got there,” the Airbus boss explained.

The news will undoubtedly please Air France, customer of the A220-300, and very interested in the -500. But above all, Airbus must succeed in making this program profitable, which will cost Bombardier dearly in his time. According to Dominik Asam, the group’s chief financial officer, the break-even point should be reached in 2025.

Cargo should also have a good place in future developments. The figurehead is definitely the A350F, but Guillaume Faury says there is also strong demand for freighter versions of the existing A321 and A330 platforms. “We don’t do everything. We want to be very specific, but it makes sense,” he said, without specifying whether he was referring to programs to convert passenger planes into freighter (“P2F”) planes or plans for the bag versions in production.

Integrating the ecosystem and beyond

At the same time, Airbus continues to work on various bricks to reduce its carbon footprint: energy efficiency, full integration of biofuels (currently limited to a mixture with at least 50% kerosene), development of hydrogen… elements related to Airbus, but also to the entire air ecosystem, one of the pillars put forward by Guillaume Faury. “It is more than the structure of Airbus with links to energy, the cost of carbon, regulation, long-term goals, hydrogen…”, he judges. He therefore wants to succeed in working with as many stakeholders as possible to ensure the coherence of the system in the “new world of aviation”, but can also look beyond the aeronautical world.

“It’s a complex world, with a very fast changing environment. The acronym VUCA, Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity, perfectly describes the world we live in. We can’t change it, but we can our best to deal with the situation,” said Guillaume Faury, Executive Chairman of Airbus.

Guillaume Faury took the example of sustainable aviation fuels, the development of which he wants to speed up significantly with integration goals of around 10% by 2030 and 40% by 2040 to reach 80% of 2050. And for him, it is above all through the energy companies, so it is necessary to include them strongly. The stakes are high, the SAFs must be the main lever for reducing the carbon footprint of aviation and achieving neutrality by 2050. A goal that Guillaume Faury remains convinced is possible to achieve.

Despite the skepticism, Airbus continues to dream of hydrogen in aviation