EADS co-chief executive Noel Forgeard said on Friday he first knew in April of potential production problems on the Airbus A380 but there was no reason at the time to think the planemaker could not resolve them.
Under fire over what Airbus parent EADS told investors and his decision to exercise stock options in March, before the disclosure this week of delays to the superjumbo which triggered a collapse in EADS stock, Forgeard said he had done nothing wrong and ruled out resigning.
The problems of delays were put on the table during April and at the end of May many people still thought it was possible to resolve them, Forgeard said on Europe 1 radio.
The detailed work reached its conclusions on June 13 and we published them on the same day.
Forgeard said he was among six senior EADS executives who had exercised options up to March 17.
He said it was three days later on March 20 that he had learned that core shareholders in EADS -- Lagardere and DaimlerChrysler -- had decided to reduce their stakes, and in April that he first heard of A380 wiring snags.
French shareholder activist organization ADAM has called for an inquiry by stock market regulator AMF into the timing of stock dealing, as French media coverage of the crisis gripping Airbus and its parent EADS lingers over who knew what and when.
Forgeard said he had nothing to fear from any insider-trading inquiry.
A spokeswoman for the AMF said it would not comment on whether it had launched or would launch a probe.
Forgeard said that Airbus would recover from the production problems, which involve customized wiring and have now delayed most deliveries of its A380 superjumbo by a year.
He repeated that Airbus would announce an improved version of its A350 mid-sized twinjet next month to redress a gap in sales with resurgent U.S. rival Boeing Co.
EADS shares fell 26 percent on Wednesday after the company, which owns 80 percent of Airbus, disclosed a second six-month delay in A380 deliveries and issued a profit warning.
The shares partly recovered on Thursday and opened about two percent higher on Friday at 20.5 euros.