>> Many airlines were keen to buy the A320neo. Its lower fuel costs and quieter engine's a big attraction, but production of Airbus' new jet has been on a go-slow. And it seems it not entirely the European plane maker's fault. Finance Director Harold Wilhelm blamed delays at engine maker Pratt and Whitney for hampering deliveries.
That lead to weaker than expected first quarter results, caused profit at Airbus more than half to 240 million Euros. Price-cutting of older models didn't help, and Wilhelm also warned about significant exposure on its A400M army plane. But Airbus remains confident it can increase jet output despite wobbling demand, and news of a 19% rise in first-quarter profit at rival Boeing.
But Airbus' boss has a lot on his plate, Austria has launched a fraud investigation into over a 2003 fighter jet deal. Airbus calls the accusations completely unsubstantiated, but it's another distraction. Last year European government export funding was suspended amid a probe into suspected corruption in jet liner sales.