Aerospace giant Airbus’ shares fell on Friday after the firm reported it had won only four gross aircraft orders over January and February.
The manufacturer said a number of cancellations were behind the dearth of orders, but this was not enough to quell investors’ anxiety as shares fell 1.4 per cent in early morning trading.
It comes after Airbus’ outgoing chief executive Tom Enders all but ruled out paying back hundreds of millions of euros in loans to governments for the development of the A380 superjumbo jet, after the firm decided to discontinue the model in February.
Enders told the Financial Times governments had signed up to the A380 programme on the understanding it was a “risk partnership”.
“The fact is this is a risk partnership and these loans are based on the promise of the governments who are giving the loans that if the plane is not successful, they put money at risk,” he said.
Last month, he spoke of his “pain” at having to bring production to a halt after lacklustre demand for the world’s largest airliner in recent years has made it unsustainable to make new models.
The company bagged millions of euros of so called repayable launch investment (RLI) for the model from Germany, Britain, France and Spain.
Britain gave £530m in loans to Airbus and £200m more to engine maker Rolls-Royce to manufacture the Trent 900 engines used by the plane.
Last month, Rolls-Royce said it had taken a £186m hit as a direct result of the A380’s cancellation. It is unclear whether this relates to money owed to the government.
The outspoken Enders said he would discuss the issue with governments if they wished, but added “this programme has done a lot of good for taxpayers around Europe”.
Enders leaves the company at its annual meeting next month after six years in charge.