Airbus Soared At Air Show, But Analysts Wary

Though Airbus grabbed the spotlight at last week's Paris Air Show, analysts aren't ready to grant the plane maker top-dog status in the industry.

NEW YORK (AP) - Airbus roared through last week's Paris Air Show, announcing hundreds of new orders, but analysts aren't ready to grant the plane maker top-dog status in the industry.

The Paris Air Show is perhaps the industry's biggest stage, and Airbus grabbed the spotlight by announcing 425 new orders booked. With those, Airbus's market share jumped to 55 percent from 32 percent before the show, Citigroup analyst George D. Shapiro wrote in a recent research report.

Airbus has been struggling to regain its luster recently, since announcements of manufacturing delays meant big drags on its A380 jumbo jet program. In the interim, rival Boeing Co. has taken advantage, snapping up orders for its lighter, more fuel-efficient 787 ''Dreamliner'' jet.

Coming into the Paris Air Show, investors had been expecting Airbus and its parent EADS to announce a raft of orders and, perhaps just as important, no bad news. Airbus succeeded in meeting their expectations, Lehman Brothers analyst Joseph Campbell wrote in a recent research report.

Both Airbus and Boeing have recently benefited from a strong aerospace market, particularly outside the United States. The global airline industry continues to build capacity, and spiking jet fuel prices mean carriers are looking to make their fleets more fuel efficient.

Analysts say they are hearing scant discussion from industry executives about a possible downturn soon. The industry's optimism, though, is still cautious, as it is in its fourth year of an up-cycle that typically lasts for three years, Morgan Stanley analyst Heidi Wood wrote in a report.

Boeing announced 70 new orders, excluding 59 it had previously classified under identified orders. But Morgan Stanley's Wood wrote in a report that investors shouldn't compare that number with Airbus' total in a vacuum.

Airbus continues to have challenges ahead as it tries to regain the top spot above Boeing, analysts say.

Analysts also are continuing to evaluate Airbus' progress on its cost-cutting and restructuring plan, called Power 8.

More in Aerospace