Airbus sells 730 aircraft at airshow

June 23, 2011

European planemaker Airbus has won business worth $72.2bn for a total of 730 aircraft at the Paris Air Show – a record for any commercial aircraft manufacturer at any air show. The commitments comprise memorandums  of understanding for 312 aircraft worth $28.2bn and firm orders for 418 aircraft worth around $44bn.

The A320neo won 667 commitments worth $60.9bn, taking the total to 1,029 since December – an achievement which Airbus says makes it  "by far the best selling airliner in the history of commercial aviation".

"Le Bourget 2011 is a strong confirmation of our product strategy. With over 1,000 commitments just half a year after launch our A320neo is a real bestseller,” said Tom Enders, Airbus president and CEO. "I have to admit, I largely underestimated the market demand for neo before this show.”
The total sold was given a huge boost earlier today with confirmation of a record $18.2bn deal with Malaysia's Air Asia for 200 single aisle A320neos – and options to buy 100 more.  It follows a memorandum of understanding Air Asia signed in January with Airbus which designs the wings for all its aircraft in Filton where it has a workforce of 4,000.
Today's news eclipsed even yesterday's much-anticipated £10bn ($16bn) deal with India's budget carrier IndiGo for 150 of the European planemaker's re-engined airliners and 30 original A320s. The A320neo is a version of Airbus's best-selling 150-seat passenger jet offering fuel savings with new engines from 2015.
Boeing, which yesterday secured a provisional agreement for the sale of 40 of its rival single aisle 737s with Russia's UTair Aviation, has bagged firm and provisional orders at the show for 141 planes, dominating the marketplace for wide-body, more expensive aircraft. This compares with the Airbus tally of 730.
So much Airbus success with the A320neo, which will deliver crucial savings of 15% on fuel, could force Boeing to decide sooner than it planned about whether to re-engine its rival 737 airplane in 2016 or delay a few years longer while it builds an all-new model from scratch to offer even greater benefits.
Airbus claims the A320neo should save almost $1m (£625,000) a year per plane while also being much quieter and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from each aircraft by 3,600 tonnes per year. The engines are also 30% cheaper to maintain than current models, largely because they have fewer parts.
Reuters says analysts reckon the defection of a Boeing customer could push the American planemaker into a decision.  Meanwhile American Airlines, the operator of an all-Boeing jet fleet, is in talks with Airbus about buying at least 100 A320neos, according to Bloomberg.

Certainly Boeing's decision about whether to go for a completely new aircraft or upgrade the 737 is not at all straightforward since putting modern, fuel-efficient engines on the existing aircraft would also require a new undercarriage, which is costly and difficult.

Today's deal with AirAsia is the third biggest in value ever achieved by Airbus, exceeded only by major wide-body orders from Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Qatar had been tipped to buy five Airbus A380 superjumbos this week but nothing has materialised so far – and Flightglobal has reported a rift between the airline and the European planemaker over plans to delay the launch of its long haul, wide-body A350-1000 airliner to enable Rolls-Royce to produce more powerful engines to enhance performance and range.




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