By David Pearson
LE BOURGET, France--Airbus Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier Thursday said he remains concerned about the strength of the euro against the U.S. dollar which could limit the European plane-maker's export-reliant growth despite strong demand for passenger jets particularly from Asia.
The CEO has previously expressed concern that the euro's rise against the dollar could force the company to seek extra cost cuts or savings. Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Mr Bregier told Dow Jones Newswires that Airbus could live with the euro trading around $1.33 to $1.34. "But our objective is that the dollar trades durably below $1.30; $1.34 isn't the case.
"We must have a euro less than $1.30," he said.
The euro fell sharply in early trading Thursday to around $1.32 from around $1.34 in late trading in the U.S., after the Federal Reserve signaled it would tighten monetary policy next year. A month ago, the euro was trading nearer $1.28.
"It's good to remember that companies which export are in competition with American rivals, 100% in our case," Mr. Bregier said, referring to Airbus' archrival Boeing Co. (>> The Boeing Company).
Airbus hedges its currency exposure and has production facilities in the U.S. and China to limit its sensitivity to the euro-dollar exchange rate although all its aircraft sales are denominated in the U.S. currency.
"[European exporters] must be backed by a monetary policy which isn't only the preserve of the Federal Reserve or the Bank of Japan," he said.
Mr. Bregier acknowledged that, for now, the commercial aircraft sector is in good shape particularly as demand from Asia remains strong. Airbus notched up 466 orders and commitments from customers at the Paris air show, adding to the 516 already recorded before the trade event started. Mr. Bregier had previously forecast the manufacturer, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (>> EADS), would notch up more than 800 orders this year.
"We were expecting fewer [orders], honestly," Mr. Bregier said.
"But it's often like that during the shows because there are discussions underway and [the show] is a good accelerator to converge [on a deal]," he said. "This is a super salon," he said.
Mr. Bregier said he wasn't worried about a lack of new orders from Asian customers for Airbus's new long-distance A350 jetliner, saying many had already ordered the jets and have continued to sign up for Airbus's smaller planes like the A320.
Hong Kong Aviation Capital, an aircraft-leasing firm, Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for the purchase of 40 A320neo single-aisle planes and 20 A321neo aircraft.
Write to David Pearson at email@example.com
Corrections & Amplifications
This article was corrected at 15:13 GMT to fix comment that the company's preferred euro corridor in the second paragraph. Mr. Bregier said Airbus could live with the euro trading around $1.33 to $1.34, not that the company was most comfortable when the currency traded within that range.