PARIS (Reuters) - The head of Boeing jetliner sales said on Wednesday he was confident a new mid-market jet could enter service in 2025 if Boeing took the decision to launch the new plane but stressed the U.S. planemaker would not be rushed into a decision.
Ihssane Mounir, senior vice-president for commercial sales and marketing at Boeing, told French journalists Boeing would "protect" the targeted 2025 date for entry to service, which some analysts see as ideal for planned replacement cycles.
He declined to say when Boeing could make a decision on the possible twin-aisle plane, which has been the source of speculation among airlines and investors for around two years.
"We will take the time to do this right," Mounir told the AJPAE French aerospace journalists' association.
Mounir, who has led Boeing sales since Oct 2016, said "conservative" estimates showed global demand for 4,000 to 5,000 middle-of-the market jets over a 20-year period.
European rival Airbus disagrees with the forecast.
Mounir dismissed latest reported plans by Airbus to enhance its best-selling A321 single-aisle jet, saying it would still not cover the same range or be able to compete economically.
Reuters reported this week that Airbus is considering adding extra endurance to the longest-range version of its A321 jet in a potential new variant dubbed A321XLR.
Mounir also said talks with Brazil's planemaker Embraer over a possible commercial aerospace venture were "advanced".
An eventual deal would exclude Embraer's defence division and possibly its business jet unit, the two planemakers said last month, but Boeing insists it is not a "must-do" deal.
Embraer's 70- to 130-seat E-Jets, which compete with the CSeries program designed by Bombardier Inc, account for about 60 percent of the Brazilian firm's revenue and nearly all of its operating profit.
(Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Matthias Blamont and Richard Lough)
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Updated Date: Jun 21, 2018 00:05:46 IST