Airbus trumps Boeing at Paris show

European group announces $45bn in orders, but US manufacturer expected to hit back.

    For industry professionals, the air show opened
     on Monday. Later it will open to the public [AFP]


    Boeing, is likely to push its sales figures for the show over $10bn when it provides an update on the Dreamliner.
     
    On Monday, Airbus announced that it had booked firm orders or letters of intent to order for 339 aircraft, worth $45.7bn at catalogue prices.
     
    Criticism
     
    Orders for Airbus's problem-plagued A350 include the confirmed purchase of 80 by Qatar Airlines and 12 from Kuwait Aviation Lease, but the success of the A350 is not assured.
     

    "We've got some talking to do ... but I think we're in a good position to make an aircraft decision in the next few months"

    Tim Clark,
    president of Emirates

    Airbus' decision to redesign the aircraft, after customer complaints, has pushed back its delivery date until 2013, putting it years behind the first deliveries of Boeing's rival Dreamliner 787 due in May.
     
    Critics also remain outspoken, among them Steve Udvar-Hazy, the founder and chief executive of Los Angeles-based International Lease Finance Corp, the world's largest airline leasing company.
     
    Udvar-Hazy has said that the A350 is no match for the Dreamliner and has hinted that he will sign a deal for a significant number of Boeing's new commercial jet in the coming days at Le Bourget.
     
    Emirates ordered an additional eight Airbus double-decker A380s on Monday, in a deal estimated to be worth about $2.5bn, but remained ambivalent about its future choice between the A350 and the Dreamliner.
     
    Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said: "We've got some talking to do to both Boeing and Airbus with regard to the commercial terms of the deal, but I think we're in a good position to make an aircraft decision in the next few months."
     
    Clark said the carrier would select only one of the aircraft, rather than buying some of each.
     
    Airbus' decision to focus on the 525-seat super jumbo A380 is the reason it lost its position as the world's dominant aeroplane maker.
     
    Wiring and other technical problems led to a two-year delay in delivery of the plane, expected to wipe $6.2bn off the profits of parent company European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co NV over the next four years.
     
    Emirates, which is the biggest single customer for the A380, is said to have obtained significantly improved financial terms for the aircraft.
     
    Smaller players
     

    The Paris Air Show is traditionally a
    battleground for Airbus and Boeing [AFP]

    The Paris Air Show, one of the biggest aerospace shows in the world, is traditionally a battleground for Airbus and Boeing.
     
    Expansion in air travel over the past five years, though, has opened up opportunities for manufacturers of small and medium-sized aircraft, including Russia's Sukhoi and rivals Bombardier of Canada and Embraer of Brazil.
     
    Sukhoi is expected to announce plans for its Superjet100 regional airliner, anticipated to be on the market at the end of 2008, at a press conference on Tuesday.
     
    Sukhoi has also indicated a deal that will see Italian group Alenia Aeronautica buy 25 per cent plus one share of the Russian group would also be signed and announced on Tuesday.
     
    The air show comes amid revived fortunes for the commercial airline industry as, according to the International Air Transport Association, the industry is expected to make a profit of just over $5bn this year, despite rising fuel costs.
     
    The show began on Monday for industry professionals, but opens its doors to the public for three days from Thursday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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