Create a free account to continue

Airbus, Boeing Battle At Air Show

Airbus won new orders for more fuel-efficient planes at the Paris Air Show as it jockeyed with Boeing for the spot as world's biggest plane maker.

LE BOURGET, France (AP) -- Airbus benefited Tuesday from airlines' worries about sky-high fuel prices, winning new orders for its more fuel-efficient planes at the Paris Air Show as it jockeyed with Boeing for the spot as world's biggest planemaker.

Europe's Airbus sought to focus on its order books after it suffered a clipped wing, faulty gearbox and delays to a new jet ahead of the aviation industry's showcase event.

Airbus is getting lots of attention for its A320neo, a revamped version of the workhorse A320 family of single-aisle short and medium haul aircraft -- but with more fuel-efficient engines. As fuel prices have jumped higher this year, the plane has become the company's fastest selling model.

Airbus said Tuesday it received a commitment for 50 of its A320neos from U.S. aircraft leasing company CIT Group. A321neos have a list price of about $106 million, valuing the deal at up to $5.3 billion.

The planemaker also received an order for 6 A321neo aircraft from Taiwanese airline TransAsia Airways.

Airbus began marketing the A320neo last December, and plans to begin delivering it in late 2015. It has already received over 400 firm orders for the aircraft and Airbus expects to have more than 500 be the end of the Paris Air Show.

U.S. rival Boeing also made a strong showing, piling up new contracts.

It announced a deal with Aeroflot for eight Boeing 777-300ER jets, worth $2.27 billion. Low-cost Nordic carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle announced an order for 15 Boeing 737-800 planes, worth $1.2 billion at list prices. Carriers often negotiate discounts on big orders.

Beyond the race to announce orders, Airbus officialized a deal with Rolls Royce to supply new, more powerful engines for a revamped version of the A350-1000, a stretched model of Airbus A350 widebodied medium to long haul jets.

Airbus said Saturday it was delaying the first delivery of the A350-1000 version by two years until 2017, because it said customers demanded a more powerful engine. Airbus says the jet will burn 25 percent less fuel than Boeing's 777-300ER, its main competitor.

Airbus and Boeing announced a total of $25 billion in orders, options and commitments as the show opened on Monday.

The haul was an improvement from recent years despite a challenging environment for the industry, which faces high fuel prices, a slowing global economy and uncertainty caused by violence in the Middle East and Japan's natural disasters.

Airbus topped the totals, signing orders and commitments for 142 aircraft worth $15 billion at list prices, the company said Monday.

Rival Boeing countered with more than $11 billion worth of orders and commitments for 56 of its jets, including an order by Qatar Airways for six of its 777 jets in a $1.7 billion deal.

Skyrocketing fuel costs are a major issue for Airbus and Boeing customers, who will see their profits plunge to $4 billion this year from $18 billion in 2010, according to a forecast by the International Air Transport Association.

More in Supply Chain