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Airbus to Deploy Superjumbo, Military Engineers for A320 NEO

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Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Airbus SAS will shift engineers from its A380 superjumbo and the A400M military plane to develop new versions of the A320 series of aircraft with more fuel-efficient engines, Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said.

“I’m talking about the normal ramp down in certain areas,” Enders told reporters today in Brussels. “We are ramping down engineering on the 380. We will ramp down the engineering force on the A400M. We’ve made great progress in the last 12 months with our military project.”

Enders said Airbus will “certainly not” move engineers from development of the wide-body A350 to the A320 project. The A350 would rival Boeing Co.’s delay-plagued 787 Dreamliner, and is slated to enter service in the latter part of 2013.

Airbus, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, said today it plans to offer its A320 with an option of more fuel-efficient engines to help defend its stake of the single-aisle jet market.

Deliveries of the new versions will start in early 2016 and the market potential is as many as 4,000 aircraft over 15 years, the Toulouse, France-based manufacturer said in a statement today. Airlines can choose two new engine options on the jets, dubbed A320 NEO, or opt for the existing power plants.

“We’ve been struggling to take a decision because of the availability of engineering resource,” Enders said. “One of the reasons why it took us so long” to decide on the new A320 “was to really devise a way not to harm the ongoing 350 development.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.net; Andrea Rothman in Paris at aerothman@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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