Competition Between Airbus and Boeing Heats Up

Boeing and Airbus are reportedly seeking multiple new international ventures in an effort to accelerate business. Airbus is currently in talks with China, India and Russia to develop a stronger presence, while Boeing promotes its news 450-seat 747-8 in Asia.

Boeing and Airbus are reportedly seeking multiple new international ventures in an effort to accelerate business. Airbus is currently in talks with China, India and Russia to develop a stronger presence, while Boeing promotes its news 450-seat 747-8 in Asia.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus is in talks with Russia to form a $25 billion partnership to develop a new aircraft as President Vladimir Putin works to revive the country's aerospace industry. The venture would generate about $1 billion for the development of a new passenger plane, $3 billion in parts orders and $2 billion to convert single-aisle passenger planes into cargo carriers.

Chicago-based Boeing currently employs approximately 1,200 people at its engineering center in Moscow, where design work on the 787’s nose section and wing flaps is being done, said Boeing spokeswoman Debbie Nomaguchi. Boeing also works with Russia on the international space station.

Airbus also has plans to form a joint venture in India to open an engineering and service center, as well as a joint assembly line in China. The Chinese assembly line will eventually produce four A320 aircraft per month; however, this will not meet China’s growing demand for that particular aircraft. India’s aviation industry is currently in a growing trend, with 25% annual growth in both cargo and passenger traffic. Airbus is currently exploring four additional sites to develop the line and start operations by 2008.

Boeing is currently promoting its new 450-seat 747-8, which is a modification of the 747-400 and hopes to provide direct competition for Airbus’ 550-seat A380.

“We are not at this point in time addressing that 300 airplanes of above 500 seats because we don't believe that this is an area worth spending a lot of money on because it's a relatively small market,” Boeing's vice president of marketing, Randy Baseler, said. “Airbus, if they want to make a stretch and dilute their share, it's OK with us.”

Airbus predicts that with the international aviation market growing at a 4-5% pace each year, there will be a demand for the “superjumbo” class plane, which can seat up to 800 passengers in a single economy class configuration.

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