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TOULOUSE, FRANCEEuropean planemaker Airbus to refute rumors about an upgrade to the A321neo model stating that there are no plans to build a new single-aisle jet with more seats and newer wings.



Industry sources have said Airbus has kept in reserve studies for a new narrowbody jet dubbed A322 based on carbon wings and updated engines if needed to counter any new plane that rival Boeing might launch in the top end of the medium-haul market, where Airbus has a strong lead.

Airbus executives on Monday said they were happy with the current wings and engines on the existing portfolio. They confirmed that Airbus is examining a possible freighter version of its A350 wide-body jet, but said the company would only launch such a development when the conditions were right.

Traditionally dominated by Boeing, the freighter business is underserved by Airbus, Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer said. A stretched version of the smaller 110-130-seat A220 is technically possible but not before the Canadian-designed jetliner program reaches "cruising altitude," he added. Demand for the jet is strong including interest from China, he said.

Airbus is seeing some pricing pressure in the jet market in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis but is putting emphasis on protecting value rather than chasing prices, Scherer added. It has fewer than five "white tails" that have been built but left stranded without a buyer, while most aircraft parked outside its factories are being stored on behalf of customers, he said.

Airbus also hit back at concerns raised by Boeing over the design of its newest narrow-body jet, the A321XLR. In a recent European regulatory filing, Boeing said a novel type of fuel tank could pose fire risks. Scherer called the comment "slightly provocative and outdated". Boeing had no immediate comment.

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