Airbus saw A220 sale deferrals, but CEO 'expected more cancellations' given COVID
The head of Airbus SE said he’s disappointed Canada is not doing enough to prop up its aerospace industry as the sector continues to struggle with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's fair to say we had more expectations on the support we could have had in Canada and that's an area of disappointment," Guillaume Faury, Airbus' chief executive officer, told BNN Bloomberg's Amanda Lang as part of a virtual conference hosted by The International Economic Forum of the Americas.
"We've made it very clear to the government we think we are an important sector and if they want to have aviation growing and performing in Canada, it's important that at these difficult moments airlines and the aerospace industry are supported."
Unlike other developed nations during the pandemic, Canada hasn't given its battered airline industry any bailout yet. The federal government announced in its Fall Economic Statement it will provide sector-specific aid, but the plan remains light on details.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau has previously stated airlines will need to start offering refunds for non-refundable tickets as part of a deal for an aid package.
Faury said government aid for the airline industry would benefit the rest of the economy as well.
"We're supporting many other industries and that's why this sector is important," he said. "It's not just stand-alone aviation that matters: it's also a sector that is supporting all other businesses, international activity, tourism and transport."
He said that while the aerospace industry is in a dire position, he remains optimistic the sector will be in a "very different situation" once COVID-19 vaccines are distributed.
"The very vast majority of airlines will manage to survive the pandemic," Faury said. "They'll have to adapt big-time, ... to restructure, to resize, to re-plan everything, to reschedule. It's tough for the team, for the staff obviously. But they're doing the right things to be able to be there when things start to go better hopefully in 2021."