Airbus Outsells Boeing at Farnborough Airshow

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There’s more demand for Airbus and Boeing aircraft than production rates can handle. At last week’s Farnborough International Airshow, Airbus and Boeing increased their backlogs with $115.5 billion in combined jet deals.

In the new order category, Airbus beat rival Boeing, amassing more than twice as many orders and commitments.

Airbus said its orders and commitments for 496 aircraft were valued at $75.3 billion. Its A320neo, or “new engine option,” was particularly popular. As was interest in the “neo” A330 which Airbus launched at the show in response to customer demand and challenge from the Dreamliner.

Boeing, meanwhile, secured sales worth $40.2 billion for 201 airplanes.

Before the Farnborough show, Boeing had 649 firm orders, well ahead of Airbus. After the show, Airbus has roughly 650 orders. Boeing’s orders for the year stand at 783.

Airbus ended the show with the announcement that Hong Kong Aviation Capital, another leasing firm, committed to buy 70 of the A320 neo family aircraft. Another deal was announced with Transaero Airlines, Russia’s second largest airline, for 20 A330 aircraft.

“The orders and commitments we’ve received at this record-breaking Farnborough for both the A330 neo and A320 neo families are together an unequivocally resounding endorsement for these most cost-efficient aircraft,” John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer, told USA Today.

Airbus’ orders included secured commitments for 121 of the A330neo valued at $33.2 billion at list price from three major aircraft lessors and various airlines. Airbus says the wide-body plane is 14 percent more fuel-efficient and has a longer range to compete against Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.

Airbus expects to sell more than 1,000 A330 neo’s over the next 15 years. It’s been a popular aircraft, widely in use, simple to service and doesn’t require retraining pilots on a new aircraft.

Last year, at the Paris air show, which alternates years with Farnborough, the combined sales for new aircraft was $134.7 billion, making 2013 a record year for orders.

At Farnborough, Boeing failed to win a new order for its 777X that was launched in November at the Dubai air show. But Qatar Airways did finalize its purchase agreement valued at nearly $19 billion for 50 of the 400-seat jetliners.

Boeing said Turkish Airlines could be a buyer of the current 777 in the next six to 12 months.

Airbus plans to increase output of its A320 to 46 jets a month in 2016 from 42 now.

But Boeing had a great sales year leading up to Farnborough, including that massive order from Emirates for 150 new 777Xs, announced as a commitment last year but finalized just the week before the Show.

The Tarmac’s View: What’s not selling for both plane makers are their largest aircraft – the A380 super jumbo for Airbus and the 747-8 jumbo for Boeing. In an age of fuel-efficient high-capacity business models, super jumbos for aircraft sales people are like trying to carry a sheet of plywood in a windstorm.

Airbus still has production capacity to fill in 2016 and 2017 for the A380, though its largest order to date for the jet, from Emirates Airline last year in Dubai, has reduced the pressure.

[Photo: Airbus / P. Maclet]

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